TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Tempe Police Department launched a special campaign focusing on pedestrian safety Wednesday. It's called "Stop and Think."
Officers will be out in full force to educate pedestrians and drivers alike. The goal is to reduce the number of serious injury and fatal collisions involving pedestrians. Police want everyone on the roadways and sidewalks to stop and think "to make sure that they are not putting themselves or others at risk."
On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
"We want people to be very careful of what they're doing when they're crossing the street," Tempe Police Sgt. Steve Carbajal told 3TV's Tess Rafols Wednesday morning. "Take that extra second. Wait. Make sure that there's nobody coming. Don't take any chances with your personal safety."
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that pedestrian deaths are on the rise -- up 4 percent from 2009 to 2010.
"In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States," reads the NHTSA traffic safety brief issued in August. "On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes."
According to that brief, there were 762 traffic fatalities in 2010. Of those, 146 -- more than 19 percent -- were pedestrians.
"We've had two pedestrian fatals so far this year," Carbajal said. "What we're seeing in these pedestrian crashes is pedestrians taking chances with their personal safety.
"We're not casting blame. That's not what we're trying to do," he continued. "We're trying to use those cases to send the message -- for everybody -- be careful."
photoman / 123RF Stock Photo
Officers are keying in on four main points people need to keep in mind to help save lives.
- Pedestrians should cross at marked crosswalks when possible.
- Pedestrians should stop and look before entering/crossing a road.
- Pedestrians should walk on a sidewalk, facing traffic when possible.
- Drivers must yield to pedestrians lawfully in a crosswalk.
Carbajal said this week is about education, which means violators could get a citation or they could get a "Stop and Think" card with important information.
"The next two weeks will be strict enforcement," Carbajal said.
To learn more about pedestrian safety, check out NHTSA.gov/Pedestrians.