SACRAMENTO, CA - Drivers and pedestrians were handed tickets by the California Highway Patrol Saturday during an undercover operation.
The special undercover operation was prompted after a spike of pedestrian crashes in recent weeks. As police work goes, you might think finding violators would be easy.
"We're not trying to trick people," CHP Officer Cory Barton said. "We're not walking across the street, then turning around and running back in front of their cars. We're simply walking from one side to the other."
But a recent rise in pedestrian collisions across the area makes Barton's undercover pedestrian mission increasingly important. In the last three months, in Sacramento County alone, CHP has responded to 25 pedestrian crashes, 10 of them fatal.
"This time of the year, when the time's changing and it gets darker earlier, the lighting is different, we typically see a spike around this time of the year," Barton said.
CHP set up the decoy operation with officers in plain clothes crossing the crosswalks and more officers nearby waiting for their signal. The goal was to remind drivers of right of way laws for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
"The majority of these crashes are preventable, so what we're seeing is people are accelerating, and they're trying to beat the pedestrian through the crosswalk when they're making that right turn, but you have to stop," CHP Officer Adrian Quintero said. "You have to allow that pedestrian the right of way to make sure that they get across that intersection in a safe manner."
Of course, just as there are laws for drivers, pedestrians also have a responsibility to be safe, to stay within a crosswalk and obey traffic signals. The CHP operation found its share of jaywalking violations as well.
The most important thing pedestrians can do is pay attention. The CHP said that means avoiding distractions, and the same goes for drivers.