September is Pedestrian Safety Month, and Morgan Hill Police will be working with law enforcement agencies throughout the state to promote safe behaviors on the part of drivers and travelers on foot.
California continues to see a growing number of pedestrians injured or killed on the roads, according to a press release from MHPD. In 2016, 867 pedestrians were killed and more than 14,000 injured in California alone.
A report released earlier this year by the Governors Highway Safety Association estimated that more than 6,200 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. last year. That’s the highest number since 1990.
So far this year in Morgan Hill, one pedestrian has been killed and seven pedestrians have been injured in crashes, according to police.
In an effort to reduce the number of collisions involving pedestrians, MHPD will have additional officers on patrol throughout the month of September, reads the press release. These officers will be specifically focused on drivers and pedestrians who violate traffic laws that increase the risk of crashes. These violations include speeding, driving or walking distracted and/or impaired, failing to stop for signs and signals, and not yielding to drivers or pedestrians who have the right of way.
“Someone crossing the street should not have to fear for one’s life, but they should also be mindful that drivers are going places too,” Morgan Hill Police Sgt. Ray Ramos said. “It goes both ways.”
Despite advancements in vehicle technology that increase the chance of survival for drivers and passengers in crashes, pedestrians face the same amount of risk of getting seriously injured or killed when struck by a vehicle, police said.
“Sooner or later, a driver has to get out of their car and walk, so we are all pedestrians at some point,” Ramos added. “Think about how you would want a driver to act when you are walking, and vice versa. Keep that in mind and follow the rules of the road so we can all arrive where we’re headed safely, regardless of how we get there.”
Morgan Hill Police offer the following steps that drivers and pedestrians can take to keep everyone safe:
• Look left-right-left before crossing the street. Watch for cars turning and obey traffic signals.
• Only cross the street in marked crosswalks, preferably crosswalks at stop signs or signals.
• Avoid distractions. Stay off the phone while walking.
• Make eye contact with drivers. Don’t assume drivers can see you.
• Be seen. Wear bright clothing during the day and use a flashlight at night.
• Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic and as far away from cars as possible.
• Do not walk near traffic after drinking or using drugs that affect judgment and coordination.
For Drivers, police offer the following advice:
• Follow the speed limit. The higher the speed, the longer it takes to stop.
• Never drive distracted or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
• Look out for people walking, especially at night and in poorly lit areas.
• Pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks even if they are not at a stop sign or signal. Prepare to stop when a pedestrian enters a crosswalk.
• Avoid blocking the crosswalk when attempting to make a right-hand turn.
• Be careful backing up and leaving parking spaces in shopping centers with heavy foot traffic.
Funding for pedestrian safety enforcement is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.