Itemizer-Observer

INDEPENDENCE — As part of its ongoing efforts to improve pedestrian safety in the city of Independence, the Independence Police Department will be conducting a 5-hour long pedestrian safety enforcement operation that will focus on motorists who fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, in 2019 there were an estimated 6,590 pedestrian fatalities in the United States, a 5 percent increase from 2018, or approximately 300 additional pedestrian fatalities. IPD is leading the effort with proactive enforcement and education programs.

The department is conducting this public awareness and enforcement program to educate and encourage members of the community to develop and maintain safe practices while driving, walking, and cycling throughout the city of Independence.

The 5-hour long operation will take place on July 29 at crosswalks on Monmouth Street, Hoffman Road, and S. Gun Club Road within the city of Independence.

Officers dressed in plain clothes will cross the street while uniformed officers monitor the crosswalk for motorists and pedestrians who fail to yield the right-of-way or who take unsafe and illegal actions. Drivers and pedestrians stopped during this safety operation will be issued warnings or citations.

Crosswalk enforcement actions are an effective way to communicate pedestrian right-of-way laws to both drivers and pedestrians. The transportation and police departments take enforcement action in response to community requests and to educate the general public on the rules at marked and unmarked crossings. They are conducted at random times throughout the year.

“This pedestrian safety operation is another tool our department can utilize to improve traffic safety and educate motorists,” said IPD officer Richard Gonzalez. “When approaching a crosswalk where pedestrians are present, drivers must yield the right-of way. This operation will serve as a reminder of this responsibility and we expect that voluntary compliance will be improved as a result. Those who choose to ignore the law and the message, however, will be deterred from future violations through enforcement. As is the case with any other traffic law, it is easy to avoid a ticket by simply yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians who are in a crosswalk.”

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