The Amarillo Pioneer

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WT's UPD Announces Second Phase of Safewalk Project

"Pedestrian Laws are very relevant because:

• Health and Safety;
• It is the law; and
• Critical Resources are diverted from the University, Law Enforcement and Medical Services.

The West Texas A&M University Police Department, the Canyon Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety-Highway Patrol are announcing today (Tuesday) the continuation of Operation Safewalk. The joint effort has been the first of its kind for the University community. The pedestrian safety initiative will allow three law enforcement agencies to work together again this year to reduce and hopefully eliminate pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

Why are we doing this initiative?UPD

• Pedestrians account for 12 percent of all deaths in motor vehicle traffic crashes.
• Recent studies have shown 4,735 pedestrians were killed nationally and more than 150,000 pedestrians were injured.
• The three agencies want a safe environment for WTAMU students, faculty and staff.
• Studies have shown 41 percent of pedestrian fatalities have occurred in four states. Texas is one of the four states.

“We are continuing this initiative with a large educational phase,” Sgt. Jack Hildebrand, UPD public information officer, said. “Using today’s press release, social media, informational pamphlets and educational presentations, we are getting the word out. It is the hope of our three agencies to provide the information needed to increase pedestrian safety.”

Tips to increase pedestrian safety:
• Walk on the sidewalk;
• Cross at intersections and crosswalks;
• Look both ways for traffic;
• See and be seen;
• Stand behind the curb before crossing a street;
• Don’t be distracted by cellphones or texting; and
• Be extra cautious during rain and poor weather conditions.

Beginning on Sept. 18, all three agencies will begin an enforcement phase. Pedestrian sections of the Texas Transportation Code will be enforced in Phase II of the SafeWalk Initiative. Chapter 552 of the Transportation Code specifically addresses pedestrian law for the State of Texas. Areas of concentration will include:

• Pedestrian right-of-way at a crosswalk;
• Crossing at a point other than a crosswalk;
• Drivers to exercise due care; and
• Following traffic control signals and signs.

Everyone involved with Operation SafeWalk hopes that education and enforcement can continue to modify the behavior of drivers and pedestrians alike. The three agencies hope to proactively avert any pedestrian tragedies at West Texas A&M University. SafeWalk can help everyone work together to increase campus safety."

-West Texas A&M University

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