By Antonio R. Harvey | OBSERVER Staff Writer

As pedestrian deaths rise, the Sacramento Police Department (SPD) continues to support efforts to improve pedestrian safety and help reduce crashes and injuries.

Data from the last couple of years show that “pedestrians were at fault over 75% of the time” in traffic incidents, said  Sgt. Ken Collier of the SPD Traffic Enforcement Team.

“The Sacramento Police Department is committed to ensuring safe roadways in our city for vehicles and pedestrians,” Collier said. “If you’re walking, be mindful of vehicle traffic and we ask that drivers stay alert for pedestrians. We should all be looking out for one another.”

SPD said it continues to see a rise in fatal traffic collisions involving pedestrians. The trend began in 2019, when 13 pedestrians died in collisions.

The number rose to 15 in 2020 and continues to rise this year with 16 fatal collisions to date involving pedestrians.

Here are some steps drivers and pedestrians can take to reduce the risk of a collision.

Pedestrians

  • Be predictable. Use crosswalks. 
  • Take notice of approaching vehicles and practice due care. 
  • Do not walk or run into the path of a vehicle. No vehicle can stop instantly. At 30 mph, a driver needs at least 90 feet to stop.
  • Be visible. Make it easy for drivers to see you – wear light colors, reflective material and carry a flashlight, particularly at dawn, dusk or at night. 
  • Be extra careful crossing streets or entering crosswalks at night when it is harder to see, or when crossing busier streets with more lanes and higher speed limits. 

Drivers

  • Follow the speed limit and slow down at intersections. Be prepared to stop for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks.
  • Avoid blocking crosswalks while waiting to make a right-hand turn.
  • Never drive impaired.
  • Use hands-free devices and never drive distracted.

Funding for the Traffic Enforcement Team (TET) is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These grants help fund sobriety checkpoints and campaigns against distracted driving.

The primary duty of TET is the enforcement of traffic laws in order to reduce traffic collisions, their resulting injuries, and to facilitate the safe and expedient flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

TET concentrates its efforts in the areas with the highest collision rates in Sacramento. The unit operates primarily by motorcycles and is most visible during on-peak hours, Monday through Friday, when traffic is at its highest volume.