Two years ago, Ann Arbor, Michigan was the target of a traffic enforcement campaign intended to get drivers to stop and yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. To enforce the campaign, officers were stationed at 36 crosswalks. Within six months, Ann Arbor police made over 1,300 stops, issued 480 citation,s and 903 warnings for speeding and other violations. This has led to an 11% drop in traffic stops within Ann Arbor.
Of course, the campaign has received complaints but, since Ann Arbor pedestrian car accidents have decreased, the city council is looking forward to implementing the same campaign at Western Michigan University (WMU). The council has assigned $150,000 to WMU in order to increase driver yielding rates at crosswalks, more importantly, mid-block pedestrian crossings. The money is budgeted to pay the policing staff for overtime, work assignments, data preparation, field reviews, project managers and improvement to infrastructure such as signs and pavement markings. The city also intends to find and work with community partners like the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition to address issues such as pedestrian safety.
Since Ann Arbor's sidewalk ordinances are different from the rest of Michigan, the police are trying to make sure people are informed. This creates a bit of a challenge when some of the drivers who aren’t from Ann Arbor.
Ann Arbor Police Officer Jamie Adkins, took the time to educate citizens about mid-block pedestrian crossings and what you should do when approaching them by saying, "[These are] marked crosswalks and unmarked crosswalks that have curb cuts. There are some nuances to it in terms of if they're coming into your path versus moving away from your path, but the crux of it is that Ann Arbor requires motorists to stop for pedestrians who are waiting to cross at the crosswalk.”
"The original program's success has been found to be sustainable through follow-up research four years later,” wrote city traffic engineer, Cynthia Redinger, in her memo explaining the study.
The study has also gained recognition in Florida through Ron Van Houten, a psychology professor at WMU, who is looking to implement the study for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drivers nationwide can look forward to seeing pedestrian crosswalk ordinances being enforced for public safety through traffic citations. With the nation's growing concern of accidents caused in pedestrian crossing zones, it was only a matter of time before states took notice and started to correct the problem.
Ann Arbor's traffic enforcement campaign has brought to light how supplementing enforcement and education can greatly improve pedestrian and motorist safety. Studies have proven, that in changing drivers attitudes when approaching and yielding at crosswalks, it can, in turn, improve traffic flow and keep accidents from occurring in pedestrian crosswalks. If you or somebody you know has been injured by a driver neglecting to adhere to crosswalk ordinances, please call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.