Editorial: Awareness on the roads saves lives

Editorial Staff

We’ve all seen it, someone goes walking by while looking down at their cell phone and they run into something. Usually it’s kind of funny, but behind the wheel of a car or while walking down the street, the results could be tragic.

Recent accidents involving pedestrians and motor vehicles have gotten the attention of local law enforcement officers and should capture the attention of everyone everywhere.

The operation was in response to the high number of accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians. In just the past three months, these accidents have resulted in 10 deaths and 15 injuries in the Sacramento area, Quintero said.

These numbers are outrageous. It is up to all of us to change this trend and to increase safety on the road.

The CHP conducted a decoy operation targeting unsafe drivers who did not yield to pedestrians as well as pedestrians who were crossing unsafely at the corner of Stockton Boulevard and 65th Street on Nov. 2, which resulted in 45 citations being issued.

Officers hit the streets in an effort “to create a sense of awareness, through education and enforcement,” said California Highway Patrol Valley Division Public Information Officer Adrian Quintero in a phone interview. “It worked, we created a lot of buzz.”

We should all be more aware of our surroundings, both motorists and pedestrians, and adhere to traffic and safety laws in an effort to remain safe while traveling on the streets.

Quintero called the operation an “eye opener” for officers “to see how bad it is” for pedestrians on the roadway.

Speeding can be a factor in many collisions. The CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, which compiles data gathered by area officers, reports that approximately “one third of all fatal and injury collisions in California are a direct result of unsafe speed.”

If drivers would slow down and make sure to check in all directions for pedestrians, many of these injuries and fatalities could be avoided.

Other factors that cause collisions include driving on the wrong side of the road and drivers making unsafe turns, according to a Nov. 5 CHP press release.

Being alert to your surroundings, yielding for pedestrians and using crosswalks can potentially reduce the number of accidents in our area. It’s an easy thing to do to increase safety for everyone.

“The CHP will target motorists who speed and display aggressive behavior behind the wheel to help prevent dangerous driving and deadly collisions,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow in the press release.

While local law enforcement is doing their part to raise awareness, it is really up to everyone to make a difference.

Not all of the fault lies with drivers. Pedestrians sometimes cross a busy street when they see a gap in the traffic, rather than walk to the next crosswalk.

Everyone should obey the rules of the road, whether behind the wheel of a car or on your own two feet.

So whether you are walking or driving, put down your cell phone, slow down and pay attention to your surroundings. These simple changes can mean the difference between life and death.