Are pedestrian deaths at Ashley Phosphate a cultural issue?

Live 5 News has an interesting story about pedestrians being hit by cars and killed at the North Charleston intersection of Stall and Ashley Phosphate roads. A man interviewed for the story called it one of the most dangerous intersections in the Lowcountry.

Mauricio Ensio owns a taco stand just feet away from Ashley Phosphate and Stall Road, or what he calls one of the most dangerous intersections in the Lowcountry.

A few days ago, he watched as a man tried to make a run through the traffic, but was struck and killed.

From where he works, Ensio often sees wrecks and people literally being run off the road.

“Bottom line is the they don't respect the law. They cross the street when there is tons of traffic,” said Ensio.

The answer, many suggest, is education, though whether or not this will solve the problem is a point of argument. As Live 5 News reports, North Charleston Councilwoman Rhonda Jerome has asked the Department of Transportation to put buttons for crosswalk signs in Spanish, so that non-English speakers know they need to push to button to get a walk signal.

The Post and Courier ran an article on this issue about a year ago, and we doubt things have changed for the better since then. The story offered this revealing statistic:

The state Highway Patrol says a vehicle was at fault in 16.8 percent of the state's 125 pedestrian deaths last year (2006), a pedestrian in 63 percent. There was no information from the Highway Patrol about who was at fault in the other deaths.

The story doesn't focus too much on the Hispanic angle of this issue, but it does go on to say that a disproportionate amount (37.5 percent) of the deaths up to that point in 2007 had been Hispanics. A Post and Courier editorial soon after that story also addressed the issue.

So the question is: If everyone knows this is happening, why isn't more being done to prevent these deaths by the community or the government?

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