The Goleta Police Department, along with the Santa Barbara Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, cited a total of 144 drivers for not yielding to pedestrians during a two-day enforcement operation in Santa Barbara on Tuesday and Goleta on Wednesday.
One driver was arrested for driving under the influence, and two cars were towed for drivers operating their vehicles with a suspended license.
Of the 144 citations issued during the two-day pedestrian crosswalk sting, 65 were in Goleta. A deputy dressed in plain clothes from the Goleta Traffic Unit and several civilian volunteers utilized the crosswalk while uniformed motorcycle deputies watched for motorists who did not yield the right of way to the pedestrians when they were well into the crosswalk.
The enforcement period was held between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday to target lunchtime traffic at several locations throughout Goleta. The locations were chosen based on the volume of vehicle traffic, pedestrian traffic, citizen complaints and documented injury collisions. All of the locations selected had a marked crosswalk but no traffic signal. The locations included Cathedral Oaks and Santa Marguerita Drive, Orange Avenue at Hollister Avenue, Hollister Avenue at Chapel Street and the 5700 block of Hollister Avenue in front of the Goleta Valley Community Center.
Drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. The fine for this violation can be up to $175. Drivers are prohibited from passing a vehicle that has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the street. This offense is especially dangerous because pedestrians are all too often lulled into a false sense of security when a vehicle stops for them. The fine for this violation is approximately $400.
Additional crosswalk enforcement will be conducted in the future. The Sheriff’s Department and City of Goleta hope by conducting and publicizing these operations on a regular basis, motorists will be more attentive and will look for pedestrians.
“While we did issue 65 citations in Goleta, the majority of the motorists observed during this operation properly and safely yielded to pedestrians in the crosswalk,” said Sgt. Bill Henebry, the Goleta Traffic Unit supervisor.
Goleta Public Safety Director Vyto Adomaitis said, “By using enforcement operations, we can continue to educate the public on safe driving techniques. Our police department has done an outstanding job in keeping our neighborhoods safe.”
The City of Goleta contracts with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department for police services.
— Kelly Hoover is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.