RALEIGH—This week law enforcement agencies in the Triangle are participating in a detailed training course to learn better ways to enforce pedestrian safety laws.
It is part of the Watch for Me NC campaign, a state-based effort geared towards raising awareness about traffic laws while promoting safety. Members of law enforcement are out to keep streets safe for both pedestrians and drivers.
Everyone is aware of the simple rules when crossing the street: look both ways and wait for the walk signal before crossing. Yet those rules can become an afterthought when paired with a busy street.
"It's crazy” It's hard to keep your eye on the light as well as the traffic coming across," said pedestrian Willis Hinton.
Hinton is familiar with the crosswalks in Raleigh's downtown district, but knows there's been some close calls along the way.
"Sometimes people are texting or talking on the phone. They're not looking at what they're doing and that causes a problem," said Hinton.
Watch for Me NC, is working with various law enforcement agencies throughout the week; and say enforcing safety laws and raising awareness will curb collisions between pedestrians and drivers.
"If we don't break a law it's almost impossible for a traffic accident to occur. What we're trying to teach the officers to do is observe behaviors they know are likely to lead to a pedestrian crash and intervene in that situation before that crash occurs," said pedestrian safety expert Peter Flucke.
The campaign says the Triangle sees about 350 pedestrians injured or killed in collisions with vehicles each year and education on both sides is key.
“Pedestrians need to know they have a responsibility that they want to cross safely," said Flucke.
According to state law, drivers must yield to pedestrians at all marked crosswalks.