LAPD steps up crosswalk enforcement after spike in pedestrians killed

Thursday, March 9, 2017
LAPD steps up crosswalk enforcement after spike in pedestrians killed
The LAPD is stepping up enforcement efforts of crosswalk laws after a major spike in pedestrian fatalities in 2017.

VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles police have stepped up efforts to enforce crosswalk laws after a drastic spike in the number of pedestrians hit and killed.

In the first two months of 2017, the Los Angeles Police Department said there were 11 pedestrians killed in traffic collisions in the San Fernando Valley alone. That was up 450 percent compared to that same time period last year, according to officials.

Officers in plain clothes were in Van Nuys on Thursday to issue warnings to drivers who failed to stop in marked crosswalks.

But authorities said their enforcement wasn't just focused on drivers, but also pedestrians.

"They are playing with their phones. Most of the time they're looking down at the ground," explained Officer Troy Williams with the Los Angeles Police Department's Valley Traffic Division.

Officials recommend pedestrians avoid texting while walking through crosswalks. They also said to watch for turning vehicles and to make sure the driver sees you before attempting to cross.

Just because one driver stops, authorities said don't assume others will. They also recommend wearing bright colors at night and to walk in well-lit areas.

"If they're in a crosswalk, and even though you have the right of way, it doesn't do any good to be dead and right," Williams said.

City officials said they were looking to install more safety measures to help with the busy streets of L.A.

"We'll put the crosswalks in and supplement them with flashing beacons. We may try a new type of in-pavement flashing lights or even just some paddles so that drivers will be expecting the pedestrians to be crossing there," said Brian Gallagher, a senior transportation engineer with the city.