Crosswalk Enforcement Events Yields Alarming Number of Violations
COOK COUNTY, MINNESOTA - May 24, 2018 (LSN) Crosswalk Enforcement Events, conducted by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Safe Routes to Schools Program, on May 15 and 17, saw an alarming number of violations. The two-day pedestrian safety enforcement operation focused on motorists who fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at crosswalks.
The crosswalk detail on May 15, from 3:30—4:30 pm, at the intersection of 5th Street and 1st Ave W in the School Zone, resulted in 11 traffic stops. There were also several more violators that were not stopped due to Deputies already having vehicles pulled over.
“This was a very eye-opening operation,” said Chief Deputy Will Sandstrom. “At one point, Deputy Zallar was able to stop just one out of three vehicles that all went through without stopping while pedestrians were at or in the crosswalk. On two occasions, all three Law Enforcement Officers had vehicles stopped at the same time. These results, combined with the fact that our Sheriff was recently rear-ended by a car going 30 mph while stopped at a crosswalk for children and a school patrol crossing, tells us we have a problem here in Cook County.”
No citations were issued by Law Enforcement; however, all could have been cited for Failing to Yield to a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk. Law Enforcement personnel that took part in the operation included Deputies Joe Zallar, Mike Running, and Chief Deputy Will Sandstrom. Pedestrian crossers included Peter James from Great Expectations Charter School and Alison McIntyre, Cook County’s Director of Public Health & Human Services. No injuries were sustained during the operations.
To raise awareness, and help eradicate the problem, all Cook County Sheriff’s Deputies will now be required to complete one hour of crosswalk enforcement each shift they work.
“With the summer months upon us, our streets are only going to get busier,” said Chief Deputy Sandstrom. “The problem is not just in school zones. Crossings at scenic destinations along the highway, like those at Temperance River, in the Cascade area and others, along with downtown Grand Marais can be exceptionally busy. Drivers need follow the law, be alert and yield to pedestrians. In Minnesota, any corner and any intersection, whether it’s marked or unmarked is a crosswalk, and pedestrians have the right-of-way. We want to prevent tragedies before they happen.”
The same operation performed in Grand Portage in front of the Oshki Ogimaag Charter School, on May 17, yielded two traffic stops.
Pedestrian Safety Is a Two-Way Street
Tips for Pedestrians:
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street
- Clearly show you intend to cross
- Remove headphones and stay off cell phones while crossing
Tips for Motorists:
- Remember that EVERY corner is a crosswalk – stop for crossing pedestrians
- Scan the road for pedestrians, especially before turning
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians