|"POLICE TO ISSUE CITATIONS TO OFFENDERS"|
New Bethlehem, PA (July 27) – In a continuous effort to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities, PennDOT District 10, in partnership with the New Bethlehem Police Department, will kick off a Pedestrian Safety Awareness and Enforcement Campaign on Route 28 (Broad Street) at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, August 1, 2006, in front of the Shepherds Inn in New Bethlehem Borough, Armstrong County.
Throughout the campaign, PennDOT officials and New Bethlehem Borough Police officers will personally escort pedestrians across the street. Motorists and pedestrians will also be given safety tips to use when crossing highways.
PennDOT reminds motorists that three new pedestrian crossing devices will be placed in the center of Route 28 at designated crosswalk areas. They will display a highly reflective pedestrian crossing symbol designed to slow down traffic and alert motorists of pedestrian areas. Motorists observed failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and who are not wearing a seatbelt may receive two citations. The Pennsylvania Vehicle Code states when traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of -way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
Any driver in the Commonwealth who is convicted of an offense could face a fine of $50 and be assessed points. The Vehicle Code also states that no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute a hazard.
In 2005, Pennsylvania drivers were involved in 162 fatal crashes with pedestrians. The majority of those deaths occurred when pedestrians attempted to cross the roadway.
Drivers should take every precaution when traveling in residential and urban areas where pedestrians may cross the street or walk along the roadway. Pedestrians, especially children, may dart out into traffic from unexpected places like between parked cars. Always be prepared to take evasive action and avoid crashes.
Motorists can help by following these safe-driving tips:
- Yield to pedestrians using marked or unmarked crosswalks. Never overtake or pass drivers who have stopped for pedestrians.
- RIGHT TURN ON RED means STOP, LOOK in all directions for pedestrians and other vehicles, and then turn when it is safe. Look for pedestrians and allow them time to clear the crosswalk.
- Always reduce speed when approaching children. Drivers must observe school zone speed limits and stop for school buses when red signals are flashing. Motorists should be extra cautious immediately after school dismissal when many children may react unpredictably.
- Yield to pedestrians who are blind or physically handicapped.
- Be patient with older pedestrians who may need extra time to cross the street.
- Before backing up, always check for pedestrians in your path.
- Be extra careful at night or during periods of reduced visibility. Keep your windows clear of fog and frost. More than half of all pedestrian fatalities occur at night.
- Be on the alert for pedestrians who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Pedestrian safety tips for crossing the street:
- Stop at the curb or the edge of the road if there is no curb and look left, then right, then left again for moving cars before you step into the street.
- Put your cell phone away and concentrate on safely crossing the street.
- Remember: Even if there is a pedestrian crossing device in the middle of the roadway near the crosswalk, you must still follow the safe crossing rules. Always look left, look right, look left again. On a multiple lane roadway, make sure all vehicles have come to a complete stop and you have made eye contact with the operators before crossing.
- If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look left, look right and left again until no cars are coming.
- If a car is parked where you are crossing, look to make sure there is no driver and that the car is not running. Then go to the edge of the car and look left, look right and left again to see if cars are coming. Make sure you are seen.
- Never dart out into the street.
- Remember: Motorists may be permitted to make a right turn on a red light. When crossing at an intersection, always look to see if cars might be turning into your path.
- Remember: Traffic signals, pedestrian crossing devices or painted crosswalks don't always provide enough protection. Drivers may not be looking out for pedestrians. It is up to the walking public to be alert and defensive.
Safety tips for walking:
- When walking along a road where there are no sidewalks, always walk facing the traffic and keep as far off the road as possible.
- Walking at night is a dangerous activity because it is more difficult to see and be seen. Pedestrians who walk at night should carry a flashlight and wear clothing made with retro reflective materials.
- Leave your cell phone at home and concentrate on where you are walking
- Stay away from traffic if you have been drinking alcohol or taking medications that cause dizziness or blurred vision.