More pedestrians are being hit and killed by cars in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An increase in fatalities has Fresno Police looking for new ways to help drivers. They're talking about accidents between cars and people.

Fresno's Police Chief is talking about programming lights in certain areas of the city to be brighter at certain times of the night, but in the meantime they're hoping education will help.

All police have from this crime scene are a few witnesses who saw a driver hit a man near McKinley and Normal back in June. On June 29th paramedics tried to save the man who died near Blackstone and McKinley also the victim of a hit and run. Both are still under investigation and are two of the 12 fatalities the traffic division is investigating this year alone.

Captain Andy Hall is commander of the Police Department's Traffic Bureau and said, "It's very frustrating for us because we're having real trouble bringing those numbers down."

Hall says part of the problem is accountability. "With a driver I can slow them down through a traffic ticket, a drunk driver I can arrest them and take their vehicles I can impact poor driving habits but with a pedestrian I don't have the ability to keep them from crossing the street between crosswalks."

And he says most of the people who are hit and killed by cars are indigent and have an addiction. "Over almost 60% of our fatalities are under the influence of alcohol and drugs almost 90% are at fault in those collisions."

Just recently alcohol is to blame for a fight outside Island Water Park that sent a man into the street. He was struck and killed. That case also remains unsolved.

Hall admits the justice system isn't able to handle indigent people who commit minor violations of the law. In most cases, jay-walking is a simple infraction. "If you don't have any money you can't pay a fine, it doesn't go to warrant you don't go to jail they suspend your license but if you don't have a license-there's no accountability."

He says patrol officers work to help bring people to missions and to recovery centers before they become victims, and the chief is working with PG&E to make some of the streets brighter to at least give drivers some added visibility.



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