As part of Pedestrian Safety Month, the San Rafael Police Department is supporting efforts throughout September to improve pedestrian safety and help reduce crashes and injuries.
Pedestrians are more and more at risk on the road. Based on data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 2020 had the largest ever annual increase, 21 percent, in the rate at which drivers struck and killed pedestrians. In California, pedestrian deaths accounted for 27 percent of all traffic-related deaths in 2019.
“It’s simple: slow down and stop for pedestrians. They have the same rights to the road as everyone else,” Lieutenant Todd Berringer said. “If you’re walking, be mindful of vehicle traffic and be predictable. We should all be looking out for one another.”
For the safety of everyone walking or driving, SRPD will have additional officers on patrol throughout September specifically looking for California Vehicle Code (CVC) violations pertaining to drivers and pedestrians.
These violations include right-of-way at crosswalks, illegal turns and not stopping for signs or signals (e.g., right turn on red or red light running), and speeding.
On Friday, August 27, officers held the first major pedestrian safety enforcement operation where a large majority of drivers were observed obeying the traffic laws and yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk. Officers issued 15 citations during the four-hour operation that was held in several different locations in the downtown area. Another operation will be held next week at several additional undisclosed locations.
The San Rafael Police Department offers steps drivers and pedestrians can take to greatly reduce the risk of getting injured or in a crash, including staying off the phone when behind the wheel or walking:
- Be predictable. Use crosswalks.
- Take notice of approaching vehicles and practice due care.
- Do not walk or run into the path of a vehicle. No vehicle can stop instantly. At 30 m.p.h., a diver needs at least 90 feet to stop.
- Be visible. Make it easy for drivers to see you – wear light colors, reflective material and carry a flashlight, particularly at dawn, dusk or at night.
- Be extra careful crossing streets or entering crosswalks at night when it is harder to see, or when crossing busier streets with more lanes and higher speed limits.
- Follow the speed limit and slow down at intersections. Be prepared to stop for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks.
- Avoid blocking crosswalks while waiting to make a right-hand turn.
- Never drive impaired.
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.