Pedestrian Safety Enforcement
Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operation Planned in Buellton
Buellton - April 12th, 2016
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office will step up pedestrian safety enforcement tomorrow, April 13th, with focused enforcement on collision-causing factors involving motorists and pedestrians. Santa Barbara Sheriff Traffic motorcycle units will mainly be looking for drivers who fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians while they are crossing the streets. The locations have been determined based on citizen complaints, collision statistics and citations issued. The majority of these locations will be along Highway 246.
Pedestrian fatalities are rising in California as more people use non-motorized means of transportation. In 2013, California experienced 701 pedestrian deaths accounting for over 23 percent of all roadway fatalities, much higher than the national average of 15 percent. In Buellton, there was one pedestrian fatality at the intersection of Highway 246 at La Lata Drive last year, along with another in Solvang at the intersection of Mission Drive (Highway 246) at Alamo Pintado Road. Our goal is to further educate drivers to watch for pedestrian traffic while traveling on the roads.
When should you yield to a pedestrian? As a general rule, you should yield to the pedestrian if they are coming/crossing into your lanes of traffic. Based on the law, pedestrians are granted the right-of-way while crossing at the corners of an intersection, but they still need to use caution at all times while crossing streets. These locations have either a painted crosswalk or an “unmarked” crosswalk. The unmarked crosswalk has the same rules as the painted crosswalk, but most drivers said they didn’t stop for the pedestrian because there wasn’t a painted crosswalk.
Besides drivers failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks, there are also instances of drivers passing other vehicles that have slowed or stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross. As a reminder to drivers, when you see cars stopped in the roadway ahead of you, always slow and scan the area to determine why the cars are stopped.
Jaywalking, which is crossing in between controlled intersections, puts the pedestrian completely responsible to yield to all traffic. However, depending on the circumstances, this does not preclude the driver from any liability. Depending on vehicular traffic around you, it is typically best to yield to a pedestrian crossing the street to allow them to reach the curb safely. As a driver, don’t take the responsibility upon yourself to determine whether the pedestrian should, or shouldn’t, cross at that particular location.
Put yourself in the shoes of the pedestrian or consider your children crossing the street. What would you expect other drivers to do while crossing the street? If one car stops for you, should you expect that other cars would stop also? As a pedestrian you should always constantly watch oncoming traffic while crossing the street and never assume cars will stop for you!
Highway 246 is a wide road, with the possibility of higher vehicle speeds, which causes more concerns for pedestrian safety.
Some tips for drivers include:
· 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.
Some tips for pedestrians include:
· 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.
The City of Buellton contracts with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office for police services.
For Media Inquires Contact PIO Kelly Hoover
Business Hours: (805) 681-4100