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Immediate Crosswalk Enforcement Operations Planned for Santa Barbara

On Friday Sept. 2, 2016, the Santa Barbara Police Department will conduct crosswalk enforcement operations at several locations within the City of Santa Barbara. 

The hope is that by conducting and publicizing these operations on a regular basis, motorists will be more attentive and observant of pedestrians. Officers will focus on two specific Vehicle Code infractions. 

The first requires drivers to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Unmarked crosswalks are the prolongations of curb lines at all intersections.

The second law prohibits vehicles from passing another vehicle that has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the street. This offense is especially dangerous because pedestrians are too often lulled into a false sense of security when one vehicle stops for them.

Pedestrian fatalities are rising in California. Locally, the Santa Barbara Police Department has investigated 227 fatal and injury collisions involving pedestrians during the past three years. 

In 2012, California witnessed 612 pedestrian deaths while nationally 4,743 pedestrians were killed. 

In a national study, only 60 percent of pedestrians polled said they expected drivers to stop when they were in crosswalks, even though they have the right-of-way. 

The following safety tips can save lives and stop additional tragedies from happening in Santa Barbara:

Drivers can:

» Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.

» Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk where pedestrians are likely to be.

» Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians too.

» Be cautious when backing up — pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path.  See

Pedestrians can:

» Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections and obey signs and signals.

» Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.

» Pay attention to the traffic moving around you. This is not the time to be texting or talking on a cell phone.

» Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.

» Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.

» Look left-right-left before crossing a street.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Sgt. Riley Harwood represents the Santa Barbara Police Department.

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