By Douglas W. Motley
A California Highway Patrol (CHP) crosswalk enforcement operation in Blue Jay netted 12 crosswalk scofflaws during a four-hour period on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Twelve motorists were pulled over after they failed to yield right-of-way to a CHP decoy who had stepped into the crosswalk in front of Sotheby’s International Realty office on Highway 189 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
CHP Public Information Officer Jacob Griede told The Alpine Mountaineer that the pedestrian enforcement operation focused on motorists and pedestrians that failed to yield the right-of-way or take unsafe and illegal actions.
“Pedestrian safety is a key issue in our community and the CHP is committed to upholding pedestrian safety laws to protect our citizens,” Griede said.
Nine CHP officers, two of whom were decoys, stood by in front of Sotheby’s as hundreds of motorists – most of whom came to a full stop – passed by. Lying in wait were two CHP units, which lit up their emergency light bars and sounded their sirens as they pursued those drivers who failed to stop for the plain-clothed decoys.
One motorist driving a commercial vehicle, who did stop in time, was issued a citation for talking on his cell phone. According to CHP Officer Dan Olivas, the driver was also cited for a seatbelt violation.
Once pulled over, all 12 drivers who failed to stop were lectured on proper crosswalk protocol before being issued warning citations. Had they been issued a crosswalk violation ticket, each motorist would have faced up to $238 in fines, as well as an insurance hike amounting to $1,000 or more.
In the past, several pedestrians have reportedly sustained injuries and one person has died after being struck in the same crosswalk by a motorist.
According to Griede, the CHP encourages drivers to follow basic safe practices: Drivers should slow down when in an area where pedestrians are likely to be; never pass a car stopped for pedestrians, because it’s against the law and highly dangerous for those crossing the street; pedestrians should cross at the corner, at crosswalks or intersections wherever possible, because this is where drivers expect to see pedestrians; pedestrians should wear bright-colored, reflective clothing and use a flashlight when walking during hours of darkness in order to be visible.
Funding for last week’s pedestrian safety enforcement operation was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.