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Following series of hit-and-run accidents, police crack down on crosswalk safety

Posted at 12:11 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 14:11:59-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Police in West Valley City are warning drivers to be aware of pedestrians in crosswalks after a number of accidents this year.

West Valley City Police camped out at 2700 Mockorange Drive on Wednesday as they watched dozens of people violate crosswalk laws.

In a 2-hour period, officers handed out about 50 citations.

“this morning has been, failed to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, speed and distracted driving and not wearing seatbelts,” said Sgt. Jason Johnson of the West Valley City Police Department.

Officers say bringing awareness to pedestrian safety is so important in order to prevent accidents.

“This is one of our slower streets, and if we do other areas where we have significant problems, we have several near misses just within our operation,” said Johnson.

Some drivers may be confused about crosswalk laws where in a non-school zone, drivers have to let pedestrians cross the street at least halfway before driving through the crosswalk, but in a school zone it’s different.

“For school crosswalks, drivers have to stop for that pedestrian while they cross the entire length of the road and it doesn’t matter if they’ve gone past you, they have to stop completely and let that ped go all the way across the road,” said Johnson.

West Valley City has seen an uptick in these types of accidents.

“Just in West Valley since the beginning of this year, we’ve had 14 auto-pedestrian accidents, those in parking lots, streets and even in crosswalk,” Johnson said.

Statewide in 2021, just over 190 pedestrian-related crashes have been reported, with 16 of them being fatal, according to the Utah Highway Safety Office.

Several of these accidents have occurred within the last few weeks.

Two weeks ago, fatal hit-and-run accidents claimed lives in Murray and in Salt Lake City, while another accident in Salt Lake City left the pedestrian was seriously hurt.

Another person was critically injured following a hit-and-run Tuesday in Midvale.

“Slow down, don’t be distracted, put the phone down and focus on your driving, be courteous,” said Sgt. Johnson.