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FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Newspaper Article 4: Drivers and Crosswalks

Anytown-If you plan to drive downtown this week, watch out! The Anytown Police Department's Traffic Division will be conducting a Crosswalk Enforcement Detail at several intersections, including Main Street and Washington Boulevard.

At various times of the day-including rush hour-undercover officers will be crossing the street at several crosswalks. Motorists who fail to yield for pedestrians will be cited (or given a warning.) This enforcement activity is part of the Anytown Pedestrian Safety Campaign.

"We see vehicle-pedestrian incidents all too often, especially downtown," said Anytown Police Chief Roger Higgins. "We are glad to be a part of the Anytown Pedestrian Safety Campaign to help reduce pedestrian-related crashes," Higgins added.

The goal of the crosswalk enforcement campaign is to remind drivers they need to look and stop for pedestrians. Research shows that vehicle-pedestrian crashes often occur because drivers are looking only for other cars, are distracted, or just not expecting to see a pedestrian in their path.

The enforcement campaign will take place at several key locations for a reason. One location is the mid-block crossing in front of the library. Anytown police say many drivers fail to yield to pedestrians at that crossing because it is an unsignalized crossing, in other words, it is not controlled by traffic signals. "There are pedestrian warning signs on both sides of the street prior to the crosswalk," said Higgins. "Drivers need to pay attention to those signs and stop when a pedestrian is present," he added.

How well do Anytown residents pay attention to crosswalks? I stopped a few motorists at key intersections to ask. "Wow. I didn't realize that was a crosswalk," said John Mayer after passing the library in his car. "I always look for pedestrians when I'm driving downtown," says Anytown Bank employee Sandra Miller. "But I have to confess, I've been caught off guard a few times on some of the neighborhood side streets, especially when you turn from one street that doesn't have crosswalks onto another where there is a crosswalk," Miller added.

As part of the public education campaign, the Anytown Pedestrian Safety Coalition is distributing public service announcements to local TV stations. Two of the spots are targeted to drivers, with a hard-hitting message about looking and stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk. In one spot, a four year-old girl is almost hit by a car in the crosswalk, and in the other, a young girl tells viewers her mother was killed while trying to cross the street safely and asks who will take care of her now.

The Anytown Pedestrian Safety Coalition is currently conducting a campaign to remind drivers to look for pedestrians; and to encourage pedestrians to use crosswalks and follow the pedestrian signal indications.

More information about this and other safety issues is available in English and some in Spanish. To volunteer or obtain more information about Anytown's Pedestrian Safety Campaign and other associated events, please call (Campaign Coordinator's name here) at (phone number) or (email address).