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Citrus Heights PD cracking down on jaywalkers, unsafe drivers

By Rylie Friesen-
The Citrus Heights Police Department has joined law enforcement agencies across the state in deploying additional officers on the streets in September as a way to promote safe behavior from both drivers and pedestrians. September is Pedestrian Safety Month. 

In a news release about the campaign, police said 867 pedestrians were killed in California and 14,000 were injured while on roads in 2016. 

Last year, over 6,200 pedestrians were killed nationwide, which is the highest number since 1990.

The department will be focusing on drivers and pedestrians violating traffic laws that increase the risk of collisions, in order to reduce the number of crashes involving pedestrians. 

Police say common violations are speeding, driving or walking distracted and/or impaired, failing to stop for signs and signals, and not yielding to drivers/pedestrians who have the right of way.

“Think about how you would want a driver to act when you are walking, and vice versa.” said Citrus Heights Police Sgt. Shaun Gualco in the news release. “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.”

The city also previously approved the plans for a barrier fence near the intersection of Auburn Boulevard and Greenback Lane in hopes to prevent pedestrian collisions.

Despite the technological advancements vehicles have to increase the safety of the drivers and passengers, police say pedestrians still run the same amount of risk of getting either injured or killed by a collision. 

“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,” Citrus Heights Police Sergeant Shaun Gualco, said. “It goes both ways.”

Police offer the following tips for pedestrians and drivers to stay safe on the roadways.

For Pedestrians:

  • 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:

  • 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.

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