“Most of the victims have been in their teens and early 20s,” says Jami Blackwell, CoxHealth Trauma Services coordinator.
Blackwell attributes the increase to a number of factors, including warmer temperatures and healthier lifestyles causing more people to walk, run and bike along area roadways. That, combined with drivers who are often distracted by texting or talking on cellphones, can lead to serious, and sometimes fatal, accidents.
“We want to remind everyone of the precautions they can take to stay safe,” she says.
Blackwell also urges staff driving on CoxHealth property to exercise caution.
“There have been several close calls in our parking lots, particularly at Cox South along the southern edge of the parking lot immediately north of James River Freeway,” she says. Blackwell says cars routinely drive this route at speeds in excess of 20 mph, and there have been several instances where cars have nearly been hit when pulling out of parking spaces, and when employees walking to their cars have almost been struck by vehicles passing by too quickly.
Safety tips for walkers, runners and bike riders:
• Be aware of your surroundings, and make eye contact with people driving vehicles near you.
• Avoid texting, talking on your cellphone and listening to music.
• Cross at crosswalks and obey all traffic signals and signs.
• Wear bright, reflective clothing, especially at night.
• Don’t step off the curb between parked cars.
• Parents should be near small children at all times when outside in areas where moving vehicles may be present.
Safety tips for drivers:
• Don’t text or talk on a cellphone while driving.
• Pay attention to your surroundings and make note of any pedestrians in your vicinity.
• Be especially mindful in neighborhoods where children may play outside and in parking lots.