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Despite recent incidents, pedestrians and drivers still safe

 

The Oxford-University community is no stranger to automobile accidents. With a hit and run on campus and some traffic accidents already this year, the question is whether the town and campus are safe for drivers and pedestrians.

There have been close to 268 automobile accidents and an estimated 99 DUIs within the Oxford city limits since January, according to Oxford Police Chief Mike Martin.

Martin said there were minor to no injuries with most of these accidents, and there have been no serious injuries that were alcohol-related.

“There has been no fatality that alcohol was involved in,” he said. “We had one fatality crash this year, but alcohol was not a factor.”

Fender benders make up many of the accidents on campus, and alcohol-related accidents are not a big problem, according to University Police Department officer Kendall Brown.

“Fortunately, we have very few,” he said. “I think our officers do a good job of patrolling, doing checkpoints and things of that nature.”

Martin said he doesn’t think the automobile accidents in Oxford are out of control. He said distracted drivers are usually the biggest problem, especially considering the fact that the majority of crashes are the result of at least one of the drivers not paying attention.

“Distracted drivers cause more crashes than anything,” Martin said. “Most traffic crashes can be avoided if the driver is paying attention.”

Martin also said following the speed limit and having the appropriate number of car lengths between cars can prevent crashing into a car that is pulling out into traffic.

“It may not be your fault if someone pulls out in front of you,” he said. “If you’re paying attention, that crash can possibly be avoided.”

Not talking on a cell phone, texting or fooling around with something in the car while driving can easily prevent traffic crashes, too, according to Martin.

Aside from preventing traffic accidents, Martin said these actions can also be used to prevent hitting pedestrians and hit and runs.

“There have been close to six hit-and-run accidents so far this year where the drivers left the scene of the accident,” he said.

Martin said pedestrians should be just as cautious and aware of their surroundings as drivers. 

“If you’re on sidewalks and such, you should be fine,” he said. “Just remember, when you walk, you should face traffic; that way you can see what the vehicles are doing.”

Despite the hit-and-run incident on campus a few weeks ago and a Hotty Toddy Taxi running over three students’ feet, Brown said the campus is still safe to walk around.

“I think those two incidents weren’t traditional traffic accidents,” he said. “With the hit and run, there were other factors that caused it. It wasn’t a normal traffic accident.”

Brow said UPD reaches out to students with programs to educate them about traffic laws and to prevent accidents.

“We get out and do programs with different groups on campus all the time,” he said. “Especially freshmen — we talk to them about the DUI laws in Mississippi, as well as traffic laws and using seatbelts.”

Martin said drinking and driving is a matter of commen sense.

“DUI is such a senseless thing,” he said. “If you chose to drink and drive a vehicle, and if you’re involved in a crash with another car, a pedestrian or a bicyclist, and a serious injury or death occurs, then that’s a poor choice you’ll have to live with for the rest of your life.”

History senior Wilson Griffin said he feels the Oxford-Ole Miss community is safe for walking and that accidents involving pedestrians are easily preventable.

“Situational awareness will probably keep them from getting hurt,” he said. “It’s safe if you’re not texting and walking or on your cell phone with your head up your rear end.”