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Chandler police step up reminders about the rules of the road

Posted: 8:41 PM, Oct 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-16 05:55:46Z

Arizona is known as the deadliest state when it comes to crashes between vehicles and pedestrians.

It's a reputation our state definitely doesn't want to boast about, but the problem continues to grow not only here at home but across the country.

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Auto-pedestrian collisions have been on the rise nationwide since 2012. Every year, 5,000 pedestrians are killed and 85,000 pedestrians are injured. 

In 2017, 216 pedestrians were killed on Arizona roads, a jump from 189 in 2016. 

RELATED: See where, when pedestrian-involved crashes happened

So far in 2018, 70 pedestrians were killed in the Valley from 66 traffic incidents.  

Monday the Chandler Police Department hit the road to enforce and educate drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians about traffic laws.

"Everybody needs to follow the laws; the rules that are put in place," said Sgt. Chad Ecalano.

Officers spread out across the city educating pedestrians at crosswalks and pulling over drivers. They also set up a sting operation along several intersections. An officer in full gear and a traffic jacket went through crosswalks at major intersections. With motorcycle officers parked at every corner they jumped into action chasing after those who violated traffic laws as the officer crossed the street.

But, it's not just drivers that need to be aware. Distracted pedestrians are just as dangerous.

"They need to get their head out of their phone and what we often say is 'be safe, be seen,'" said Sgt. Ecalano.  

In June, the Chandler Police Department conducted the same enforcement. During that time officers made 58 traffic stops, 148 pedestrian contacts, issued 49 citations, 22 bicycle warnings and 9 traffic warnings.  

"We're trying to get out there to do everything we can," said Ecalano. 

The police department worked with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety along with the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to conduct the enforcement.  

Over the years, the city of Chandler says traffic growth has increased significantly, as have the number of pedestrians and bicyclists.  

To improve safety for everyone, the city looked at reducing speed limits on certain roads. The effort has concentrated on the southern and downtown areas of the city where planners say there is more ongoing development.  

Along Frye Road and Pecos, the city says new signals have improved the area. Around town new pedestrian-only crossings have been set up, and downtown has seen the addition of lights along the sidewalk and above the crosswalks.

Next year, the city plans to use a federal grant to get traffic detection cameras that will be able to detect bicyclists at crosswalks.