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Student pedestrians recklessly crossing becomes problematic

by Haley Wilber

Campus Safety and the Health and Wellness Center first priority on campus is to student safety and well being.

They are able to alert students and give updates that will notify students of any immediate or ongoing dangerous situations. However, situations such as pedestrian safety on campus cannot be fully monitored by Campus Safety.

“I just walked right into the oncoming traffic without hesitation,” said Kelsey Hammond, graduate student at UT. “I assume they will always stop, and I can’t believe I never thought about how dangerous that is.”

Many students can be seen crossing intersections on North Boulevard and Fredrick H. Spaulding Drive without taking a second to look up from their phones and check for oncoming traffic. This not only creates dangerous situations for the student, but for the drivers as well.

“I did a research project about pedestrian safety for an old class, and it’s safe to say that the results were shocking when we looked at how many people did not even look up from their phone when using the campus crosswalks on North Boulevard,” said Senior public health major Bella Lumia. “Only about 30 percent of students that we observed really paid attention to the drivers around them.”

Itt’s rare for any member of the campus community to be struck by a vehicle while walking, according to Samuel Ponce, assistant director of Campus Safety. He said he’s seen many students walking around campus not paying attention to their surroundings.

“The Department of Campus Safety tries to educate and remind our students, faculty and staff of the importance of being aware and alert of your surroundings at all times,” Ponce said. “But having stop signs, speed bumps and brick streets also ensures traffic on our campus slows down to give drivers more reaction time to stop in case of an emergency situation.”

A recent study that was posted by Creative Loafing showed Tampa to be  number 19 on the list of most aggressive drivers in the U.S.

This information from the U.S. Census Bureau showed Tampa to be ranked number 25 in hard breaking accidents, and number 11 in speeding accidents.

Similar articles have been released mentioning Tampa as one of the worst places to drive in the country.

“I used to never pay attention when walking across campus streets, but I have started to notice more reckless driving and speeding especially around parking garage areas,” said Ben Norton, senior public relations and advertising student. “I even saw someone almost get hit the other week when a car flew around the corner.”

Although it is common knowledge that pedestrians have the right of way in these situations, it is not always known if drivers will stop or even slow down at the designated crosswalks.

Haley Wilber can be reached at haley.wilber@spartans.ut.edu

 

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