Approximately 6,000 pedestrians die each year in the United States as a result of traffic collisions, and more than 110,000 pedestrians are injured by automobiles each year. Pedestrian traffic collisions are a vital concern of the Elk Grove Police Department.
As motorists and pedestrians, we need to obey traffic laws that assure our safety. The following sections of the California Vehicle Code (CVC) have been the primary causes for the majority of pedestrian-involved accidents in the City of Elk Grove:
- 21950(a) CVC – Right-of-Way at Crosswalks
The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
Crosswalks serve to guide pedestrians across the street. Motorists should always look out for pedestrians in the roadway when they see the bright, white or yellow lines of a crosswalk. Pedestrians should also take notice of approaching vehicles.
- 21951 CVC – Vehicles Stopped for Pedestrians
When a vehicle is stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway, vehicles approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
A marked crosswalk only serves to guide pedestrians across the street. Just because one vehicle stops does not ensure other vehicles will do the same.
- 21954(a) CVC – Pedestrians Outside Crosswalk
Every pedestrian upon a roadway, except those traveling within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles in the roadway that are near enough to constitute an immediate hazard.
When crossing a street, pedestrians should stop at the edge of the road and look left, right, then left again before proceeding. When the roadway is clear, begin crossing while looking over your shoulder for turning vehicles; always check for traffic while crossing and yield to oncoming traffic.
- 22106 CVC – Starting Parked Vehicles or Backing
No person shall start a vehicle that is stopped, standing, or parked on a highway, nor shall any person back a vehicle on a highway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.
When emerging from a driveway or alley, motorists must stop prior to proceeding onto the roadway and must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on the sidewalk.
- 21453(b) CVC – Right Turn on Red Light
A driver, after stopping for a steady circular red signal, may turn right. However, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to traffic using the cross street.
Motorists will usually be looking away from the corner and toward oncoming traffic as they attempt to turn and merge with traffic on the crossing street. Pedestrians must always look for turning vehicles before stepping off the curb. Make sure that any driver making a right turn sees you. If you are uncertain, wait until the vehicle passes, look again and then cross safely.
- 21456 CVC – Walk, Wait, or Don’t Walk
(a) A pedestrian facing a "WALK" signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal, but shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that signal is first shown.(b) No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal while the "DON’T WALK" or "WAIT" symbol is showing.
It is important to pay attention and follow the direction of traffic signals. Pedestrians need to wait until the "WALK" signal is showing before crossing. Do not begin crossing the street when a flashing "DON’T WALK" or "WAIT" signal is showing.
- 21955 CVC – Crossing Between Controlled Intersections
Pedestrians shall not cross the roadway at any place between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic control signal devices or police officers, except within a crosswalk.
Crosswalks and pedestrian signals are strategically placed throughout the City of Los Angeles to facilitate the safe and orderly movement of vehicles and pedestrian traffic. Whenever possible, cross at intersections, preferably in marked crosswalks. Avoid jaywalking or crossing from between parked vehicles.
Motorists should stay a safe distance away from other vehicles, especially trucks and buses. A driver of a truck or bus has several "blind spots" around the vehicle where visibility is limited or obstructed. Pedestrians should be especially attentive when walking near these large vehicles. Being alert and staying out of the NO ZONES--all sides, including the front and back of large vehicles--are key to pedestrian safety.
Daily Traffic Mission
It is the responsibility of all motorists and pedestrians to observe all traffic laws as described in the California Vehicle Code; the daily mission of uniformed officers is to ensure the safe movement of traffic and enforce the Primary Collision Factors that cause traffic collisions. The top five causes of traffic collisions often work together to create safety hazards, they are:
- Vehicle speed violations,
- Red light violations,
- Right-of-way violations,
- Pedestrian violations, and
- Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI).
Officer and Community Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of each and every uniformed officer to enforce violations of the California Vehicle Code, educate citizens on the importance of traffic safety, and make every effort to remove alcohol-impaired drivers from City streets. These efforts, combined with the active participation of community members following the rules of the roads, will help ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians throughout the City.