CHANDLER, AZ — "We don't have any way of protecting ourselves," said Chandler mother Liz Decherd. "If you're in a car, you're the bigger person."
Operation Safe Roads reached out to Decherd after she posted a cell phone video on Facebook showing drivers turning too close to her, either left or right, while she makes her way through a crosswalk.
Decherd said some of the cars come so close to her that she can often feel the heat of their engine.
"I can like literally touch the cars sometimes," Decherd described. "Like, if I put my hand out or if I wanted to like, punch the car I could because they're so close."
She is fed up and wanted to make sure drivers understood the law when it comes to turning while a pedestrian is in the crosswalk.
ABC15 reached out to the Chandler Police Department who sent us two state statutes explaining the role of a pedestrian and the role of the driver in these scenarios:
28-792. Right-of-way at crosswalk
A. Except as provided in section 28-793, subsection B, if traffic control signals are not in place or are not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be in order to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger. A pedestrian shall not suddenly leave any curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
B. If a vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of another vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
28-793. Crossing at other than crosswalk
A. A pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.
B. A pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.
C. Between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.
Basically, Arizona law states that before a driver can enter an area where a pedestrian is crossing, that pedestrian has to make it halfway through the intersection before that driver can proceed.
"If you are traveling southbound down a street and it's... let's say there's three lanes and a pedestrian is crossing the street," Detective Seth Tyler explained. "Let's say you're driving on the far right lane on the curb lane. As soon as they cross your curb lane, you still have to yield. You have to make sure that they get through all three of those lanes."
Det. Tyler also said, drivers need to keep in mind that even if that light turns yellow while they are in the intersection, a left turn statute still protects the pedestrian.
"They are obligated to clear the intersection on a left turn when it's safe to proceed," Det. Tyler said. "So, if you have a pedestrian that's crossing the street and they're on your 50 percent, you legally cannot turn until it's safe to proceed."
Decherd is hoping drivers learn the law and both pedestrians and those behind the wheel follow it. She said, it all comes down to the fundamentals.
"I just think that people are so in a rush to get somewhere when really they should just be taking their time to get there," Decherd said.
Have a road issue or question that you want Operation Safe Roads to look into? Call: (833) AZROADS or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.