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Tempe police focusing on pedestrian safety

Posted: 4:44 AM, Dec 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-10 13:29:14Z

Thousands of Sun Devils are graduating from Arizona State University on Monday and with more people walking, plus riding scooters and bikes, the Tempe Police Department is working to keep these crowded roads safer. 

The department just received a new grant to try to prevent crashes where they are most likely to happen. 

"In a lot of cases, it's something that could have been prevented, if someone just took an extra second, didn't take a chance, didn't run across the street, that death could have been avoided," said Sgt. Steven Carbajal with Tempe Police's Vehicular Crime Unit.

So far this year, there have been 14 deadly crashes. The average over the last few years has been 12, which Sgt. Carbajal said, is a number that has been climbing for them.

Six of those deaths were pedestrian deaths. But, five out of those six are believed to be the fault of the pedestrian. 

"What we're really trying to do is minimize interaction between pedestrians and vehicles, right? That's really the challenge that we have," Sgt. Carbajal. 

The $15,000 grant that was recently awarded to the department of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety will put more officers out in the area where heavy traffic could lead to a deadly encounter. 

"We're targeting population density and we're targeting where these collisions are happening and where they're most likely to happen," Sgt. Carbajal explained. 

But, with warnings and education not proving to stop pedestrians in their tracks, the department says that people need to be prepared to get a ticket.

"We don't want to write pedestrians tickets," Sgt. Carbajal said. But, if it's going to correct someone's behavior or make them think twice, then maybe that citation was worth it." 

The department said that with the population growing, traffic is only going to continue to get worse.

So, they hope this latest safety campaign will be the sign pedestrians need. 

"We hear the same thing - 'I was trying to catch the train, I was trying to catch the bus, I'm late for class, I'm late for work,' whatever it is," Sgt. Carbajal said. "And you know, unfortunately - some people that were late, never made it to their destination because they took an unnecessary chance with their personal safety." 

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