OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Safe driving experts say the recent spike in pedestrian deaths in Nebraska show the need for changes to state law. They also say it shows the importance of staying alert behind the wheel.
Jackie Assman, who was nearly killed by a car, is joining that effort to urge drivers to pay attention.
"I get really agitated when I see people speeding,"Assman said. I get upset when I see people going 35 in a 25, it's like okay well you're going to feel like crap when you hit a little kid."
It's personal for her. Assman was hit by a car when she was just 6-years-old. It happened right outside of her home in Council Bluffs in 1999.
"When I went to go look left for the second time the car kind of broadsided me from behind and pulled me under the car," Assman said.
She almost didn't make it, spending two weeks in a coma and more than a month in rehab.
Over the past year, pedestrian deaths have in creased in Nebraska. According to the Nebraska Department of Transportation (N-DOT) the number of pedestrian deaths has more than doubled since 2016.
"Unfortunately even though we had 25 fatalities last year we had over 400 people who were injured in pedestrian car crashes," Triple A's Rose White said. And many of those sadly might have life long injuries."
Although Assman's accident happened 20 years ago, she's still seeing the effects of the accident on her body.
As a Cross Fit competitor, those lasting effects can make workouts difficult.
"So now my legs are two centimeters off from each other so [when] I stand, I'm not aligned," Assman said. So all my movements here in the gym are not aligned."
White tells us there are a number of reasons pedestrian accidents occur, but one of the main reasons might not surprise you at all.
"Distracted drivers and distracted pedestrians are two other key issues," White said. Put your cell phone away if you're walking near the street, or of course any time you get in the vehicle turn your cell phone off."
N-DOT says there have already been 3 pedestrian deaths this year.
"Drivers needs to be aware that they need to yield to pedestrians," White said. If you're the first car at a stop light before that light turns green make sure that the crosswalk is clear, don't accelerate until that you know that the crosswalk is cleared."
Assman says pedestrians also need to take responsibility and pay attention to their surroundings.
"I think a lot of kids (especially now) don't pay attention," she said. They don't care because they just wanna go from point A to point B and anything between it doesn't really bother them."
But, White says just those few seconds of knowing your surroundings, could save your life.
"It's all about sharing the road with bicyclist, pedestrians others we need to be alert at all times," she said.