THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Thousand Oaks Police Department will step up pedestrian safety enforcement operations starting Thursday, July 28, with focused enforcement on collision-causing factors involving motorists and pedestrians. Routine traffic patrols will focus efforts in trouble spots while special directed patrols will also be deployed to crack down on drivers and pedestrians who violate basic traffic laws.
The department has mapped out locations over the past three years where pedestrian-involved collisions have occurred along with the violations that led to those crashes. Officers will be looking for traffic offenses made by both drivers and pedestrians that can lead to life-changing injuries. Special attention will be directed toward drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or any other dangerous violation. Additionally, enforcement will be taken for observed violations when pedestrians cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way. Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or at corners.
Pedestrian fatalities are rising in California as more people use non-motorized means of transportation. Locally, the Thousand Oaks Police Department has investigated 87 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.
A national study showed that pedestrians and drivers do not obey laws and signals consistently and many often use cell phones, text and listen to music while walking or driving. Only 60 percent of pedestrians 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 this tragedy witnessed far too often in Thousand Oaks:
- 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 www.safercar.gov/parents/InandAroundtheCar/backover.htm
- 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 enforcement program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.