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Police put emphasis on pedestrian safety
Officers concerned with recent deadly incidents
Pedestrian safety is on the mind of the Porterville Police Department after three fatal vehicle-versus-pedestrian collisions occurred in about a six week period recently.
Since Jan. 1, there have been four fatal collisions, the last two Nov. 10 and Nov. 21.
“Normally, we average three [fatalities] in a year, so having two in a month is very high for us. We are concerned with the upsurge of pedestrian-versus fatal crashes that have been going on,” said the PPD’s Carl Jordan, the officer in charge of the traffic unit.
In response, the PPD will be conducting a pedestrian safety detail in the next few weeks to try to educate both drivers and pedestrians.
“The whole purpose of the detail is to enhance public safety and the awareness of drivers and pedestrians,” said Lt. John Hall.
Hall said the operation will focus on two areas, drivers and pedestrians. For the first time, some officers will pose as pedestrians and use the crosswalks. The PPD will then have uniformed officers standing by to conduct stops and issue citations to drivers if necessary.
“It’s the first time we’ve put officers out on crosswalks,” said Hall.
The police will be looking for pedestrians who aren’t obeying the law.
“Pedestrian safety is the responsibility of both drivers and pedestrians. Just because they step out on the street does not give them a right of way,” said Hall.
Pedestrians will be cited for illegal crossings. As of Nov. 14, officers with the PPD have issued citations to 55 drivers and 157 pedestrians for pedestrian-related violations this year.
According to Hall, factors involving vehicle accidents include limited visibility, distraction on the part of the driver or the pedestrian, and the underestimation of speed.
Jordan said the 2011 numbers for citations are around two dozen tickets for pedestrians crossing illegally and in the mid-20s for vehicles and pedestrians violating the crosswalks.
Jaywalking tickets can cost as much $237 and failure to yield to a pedestrian could total upwards of $200.
According to Jordan, most pedestrian crashes can be avoided.
“I believe for the most part that pedestrian crashes are preventable by paying attention to what’s going on down the road,” said Jordan.
Some of the city’s high-traffic areas include Henderson Avenue and Indiana, Prospect and Newcomb streets.
Jordan said for juveniles, parents may be notified for infractions such as jaywalking or a child riding a bike without a helmet. However, it is up to the officer to use discretion in issuing citations. The results of multiple warnings to the juveniles can include going to court.
Contact Emily Shapiro at 784-5000, ext. 1050 or on Twitter @ EmilyShapirogar
Safety tips for drivers, walkers
- Understand the rules of the road
- Slow down and don’t be in a hurry
- Be aware of what’s happening
-If you’re a pedestrian make sure that all cars are fully stopped before you step out on the crosswalk
- Stop, Look and Listen