Idaho Falls, ID – Earlier this morning, Idaho Falls Police Officers and Idaho State Police Troopers teamed up with Antman and a tyrannosaurus-rex to educate drivers on crosswalk safety laws.
Officers and Troopers sent two ISP troopers dressed as a t-rex and Antman into the crosswalk at the intersection of 1st Street and Evergreen Drive, at times crossing with children on their way to school. If drivers drove through the crosswalk while pedestrians were in the crosswalk, Idaho Falls Police Officers and Idaho State Troopers in marked patrol cars pulled those vehicles over to educate them on crosswalk laws.
According to Idaho Statute 49-702, pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks and drivers are required to slow or stop if needed to yield to pedestrians crossing roadways within a crosswalk. This applies to drivers in all lanes of traffic, no matter where the pedestrian is in the crosswalk.
In three hours, approximately 40 cars were pulled over. Some drivers were given warnings, while others received tickets. In most cases, the troopers or other pedestrians were in the center lanes of traffic when cars drove through the crosswalk. In several cases, troopers had to react quickly to avoid being struck by passing vehicles even though they were in the crosswalk.
While a t-rex or superhero in a crosswalk may elicit laughs from some drivers, crosswalk safety is no laughing matter. Many pedestrians utilizing crosswalks in our area are children. When drivers stop to wait for a child to pass and safely cross the entire roadway, they also signal to other drivers in the adjacent lanes that there is an important reason to stop. A driver may have a hard time seeing a child attempting to cross the road, but they are more likely to see them if other stopped vehicles have alerted them to keep their eyes open.
With Halloween just around the corner, costumed children will be out in large numbers along the roadways and crossing residential streets. The costumes worn by Idaho State Troopers today, while certainly eye-catching, also offered an opportunity to educate kids on safe ways to utilize crosswalks while they are out enjoying the holiday festivities.
Pedestrians utilizing crosswalks should utilize any lights, signals, or flags available at the crosswalk. These tools help pedestrians to be seen by motorists. While pedestrians do have the right-of-way in crosswalks, they should look both ways and gauge traffic to ensure that motorists have ample time to see them and stop before entering the crosswalk. Pedestrians should utilize marked crosswalks wherever possible and make every effort to safely and quickly move from one side of the roadway to the other.
Elsewhere in the city, an unfortunate accident illustrated the importance of crosswalk safety and enforcement. At approximately 1:35 p.m., Idaho Falls Police Officers and Idaho Falls Fire responded to a report of a vehicle versus pedestrian accident at the intersection of Capital and Broadway Avenue in Idaho Falls.
A 73-year-old woman entered the crosswalk when the crosswalk signal indicated it safe for her to do so. A vehicle turning on to Capital Avenue from Broadway did not see her and struck the woman. Multiple Idaho Falls Police Officers, two Idaho Falls Fire Ambulances and an engine crew responded.
The woman was transported via ambulance to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. Her condition is currently unknown. The driver was cited for Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk.
The Idaho Falls Police Department would like to encourage motorists to examine their driving habits and to be mindful of pedestrians and other motorists. Focusing on the road, obeying speed limits, and being aware of others on or near the road way decreases the likelihood of accidents and serious injuries on our roadways.