Health & Safety

March 30, 2012

Crosswalk safety a shared responsibility

Written by: Staff
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U.S. Air Force photo / Lt. Col. Donald Traud
Staff Sgt. Neil Ballacer, 163 Reconnaissance Wing public affairs, uses a crosswalk on base for safe passage to the other side of the street. Vehicles are reminded to yield until pedestrians have safely cleared the crosswalk.

Most have heard and understand the importance of not drinking and driving, but how about not drinking and walking?

A surprising statistic from the Automobile Club of Southern California is that 35 percent of all fatal car-pedestrian collision cases in the United States between 1997 and 2007 involved pedestrians who had a blood-alcohol concentration of .08% or higher.

Crosswalk safety is everyone’s responsibility. As pedestrians and motorists, we both have the right to use the roadways and the responsibility to use unimpaired judgment while doing so. If we all share the responsibility to follow the rules of the road, use basic safety guidelines and respect each other, safety in the crosswalks of America should improve.

The three important factors in creating the safest crosswalk conditions for pedestrians and motorists are education, engineering and enforcement.

Through education, we increase knowledge and awareness of crosswalk and roadway hazards in general. Good education should heighten the sense of personal responsibility. All units should participate in educating their airmen by conducting in-house safety campaigns.

Engineering involves altering the existing physical environment, as well as developing the environment to the detailed specifications that meet required regulations, laws and guidelines.  In other words, make it easier to understand, see and use. Proper signage, markings, and positioning as well as future improvements all fall under engineering.

Enforcement is the job of the Security Force Squadron. This may include, but is not limited to, the installation of speed trailers to let motorists know how fast they are traveling and monitoring high-risk crosswalks.

Here is a tip for pedestrians: Allow enough room for traffic to stop safely before you cross at a designated crosswalk. In the state of California, pedestrians always have the right-of-way, but not the authority to cross an uncontrolled crosswalk whenever they want to, as it may create an unsafe situation for motorists. Another tip: Be courteous to motorists by walking as quickly and as safely as possible completely across the crosswalk.  In low-light conditions, and or at night, make an effort to wear a reflective belt when walking or running for better visibility.

Finally, a tip for motorists: Yield to pedestrians whether or not they are at a marked crosswalk. Slow down when approaching crosswalks and do not assume pedestrians will yield or that they understand the laws as you understand them.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the 452d Air Mobility Wing Safety Office at 655-4481.

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U.S. Air Force photos by Darnell Gardner

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