Senior pedestrian deaths spike in Virginia in 2019

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — Senior pedestrian deaths in Virginia have increased a massive 95 percent in the last year.

Walk signal in downtown Staunton. | Credit: WHSV

AAA reported that the main factor contributing to senior deaths across the state is people not using an intersection or crosswalk when crossing the street.

While it is safest to cross at an intersection, some admit they don't always do it.

"It's one of the advantages of small towns that the traffic isn't as congested," Steve Hartley said.

"A lot of times, if you're in need of crossing on a one-way street, you just look the one way, then you go," Trevor Wheetman said.

In Virginia, 37 pedestrians who were 65 or older were killed in collisions in 2019.

That's a large jump from 19 senior pedestrian deaths in 2018.

In the Staunton region, the Department of Motor Vehicles shows those numbers were down from two deaths to one.

Most came in more populous areas, but rural areas are far from immune.

Virginia State Police said they mostly see theses incidents when the senior population crosses the road to check their mailboxes.

"They do that for years on end without anything happening and they kind of get used to it," 1st Sgt. Frank Pyanoe said.

Police say you should wear reflective clothing and face traffic when walking along a street.

AAA advises if there is not an intersection or crosswalk you can use, you should at least cross the road in a well lit area.