Auto-Ped Collisions remain a problem for Austin

On board cameras from a CapMetro bus show how quickly an auto-pedestrian collision can happen.

In a video, obtained by FOX 7 a construction worker can be seen trying to cross the road by darting between parked cars.  He takes a a hard hit but the man survives. Its an example of a problem that Austin Police haven't been able to stop.

"Its extremely disappointing, we are out there working hard to try to make a difference, and we just don't see the results we like to see,"  said APD Detective Patrick Oborski.

Detective Oborski is with APD's highway enforcement command.

"It kind of goes back to what your parents brought you up and said, don't make poor decisions, think about what you do before you do something. You are always suppose to look twice before you cross the road,” said Oborski.

Unfortunately, not everyone remembers that safety rule there are those who ignore it and those who are guilty of whats called distracted walking.  CapMetro provided FOX 7 with video clips of nearly 2 dozen incidents that have happened since 2016. Some defy explanation.

There are joggers who run into buses. People who thrown themselves into buses and others who slide down the side trying to stop a bus. 

"Just a lot of really distorted people,” said Darrell Jamail, CapMetro's security director.

The bus cameras provide a glimpse of what every driver in Austin is facing.

"I think its a combination of things, just based on what we've seen over the years,  the increase in congestion, the increase of traffic and pedestrian traffic on the roads and crossing the roads as well as the increase in use of electronic devices that people are paying sometimes more attention to those than their surroundings,” said Jamail.

There have been 8 Auto-Ped fatalities in Austin this year. One remains under investigation the other 7, according to investigators, were the fault of the pedestrian. There were more than 21-hundred auto ped collisions in Austin between 2013 and 2017. One hundred and eighteen were fatalities, 1,899 involved injuries.
"All these, are cases that can be easily preventable,” said Detective Oborski. 

Risky runs and fatal collisions that took place on I-35- prompted a new response protocol by APD.
"We are dispatching officers in what we call a code 3 incident, its a hot shot call meaning running lights a sirens to that person, trying to get to them before they make that decision to cross the roadway, so it is a priority one call for us,” said Oborski.

A few safety enforcement initiatives have been tried. TxDOT handed out reflective gear to Austins' transient community. Police also issued citations to drivers not yielding to people in cross walks. Those efforts only provided mixed results- but there is something new that may make a difference. Collision avoidance sensors. 

Mobileye an Intel Company is one of the companies offering a solution. Multiple sensors can be installed to cover blind spots.

Alerts go off if there is a risk of a collision with a vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist. There are Mobileye devices on a little more than 100 CapMetro buses. But the sensors that were installed only have a forward looking capability.

"Is great equipment, but ultimately you don't want to lull the driver or operators into a sense of security that it will take care of everything for them. Ultimately its on the driver of the vehicle, that they are doing their job,” said Jamail. 

The best prevention, remains with the Pedestrian. Because failing to stop and look, can all too quickly look like one of the crashes caught on camera.