Fourteen pedestrians — most of who were seniors and of Armenian descent — were killed in traffic-related collisions in the past five years in Glendale, a statistic that prompted a local Armenian organization to strengthen its outreach efforts.
Glendale’s chapter of the Armenian National Committee plans to work with city officials to visit adult day care centers in the city. The committee will also be airing its traffic safety discussion, which was held Thursday, on Armenian TV in an effort to get the word out about pedestrian safety.
“It’s a big concern for us,” said Talar Malakian, the chapter’s executive director.
The deaths could be attributed to numerous factors, including cultural differences, road safety and distracted driving, Malakian said.
Many seniors, she said, emigrated from countries that didn’t have strict rules for walking and driving, so they haven’t been taught laws in the United States.
The rise of social media and cell phone usage, Malakian added, has also prompted new distractions for drivers.
The latest pedestrian-involved fatality statistics released from the Glendale Police Department show that between 2008 and 2013 there were 14 pedestrian deaths. Of the fatalities, 86% were Armenians, 7% were other whites and 7% were Koreans.
Armenians are the largest minority group in Glendale, according to U.S. Census data.
Seniors between the ages of 80 and 90 made up 50% of the deaths, while 44% were 50 to 80 years and 6% were 10 to 20 years old.
Still, Malakian said the deaths indicate more education is needed to change the community’s mindset.
The statistics drove the organization to gather local experts and host the panel discussion, so teens and their parents would attend and start talking about traffic safety.
Glendale Police Chief Robert Castro requested the latest statistics in an effort to identify how police could better reach out to the community because he said this week he plans to launch a campaign to get residents involved in traffic safety issues.