An elderly man in a motorized wheelchair who was struck and killed by a dump truck isn’t the first person to die recently at a dangerous intersection in Columbia, officials say. The pedestrian accident, which fatally injured the man, occurred at the intersection of Harden and Greene streets in the Five Points area of the city.
Officials said he was the fourth person to be hit and injured or killed at the intersection since May. As data from the beginning of the year gets released to the public, we might find that even more people have been killed or seriously injured at the intersection since the beginning of the year.
We do know that, before this accident, two people on foot were hit on June 1. At the beginning of May, a pedestrian died after a drunk driver ran into him on Harden Street.
Accidents that seriously injure or even take the lives of people on foot are a growing problem on American roadways. Last year, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) figures showed that auto accidents involving people on foot and otherwise not in cars were on the rise: deaths rose over 4 percent and injuries rose nearly 20 percent.
In 2010, NHTSA data showed that 70,000 people not in cars were injured in auto accidents. Unfortunately, safety experts also admitted that they haven’t figured out why. Some experts point to alcohol use while other experts say that rising numbers of people who choose to walk or bike led to the increases.
Until SC officials and DOT workers decide to take serious action about the dangerous Five Points intersection and others in the state, the risk of injury or death to people near the road continues.