TAMPA — Police begin a two-day crackdown today on pedestrian fatalities, targeting crosswalk violators with warnings for jaywalkers and citations for drivers.
The initiative begins at 8 a.m. at two downtown Tampa locations: Kennedy Boulevard and Florida Avenue, and Kennedy Boulevard and N Boulevard.
It's no secret that the bay area is a hostile environment for pedestrians. Of the 41 Tampa traffic deaths in 2009, 19 were pedestrians.
A recent national transportation study ranked the Tampa Bay area the second-most dangerous in the country for foot traffic.
But in many accidents, drivers aren't to blame, said police spokeswoman Andrea Davis. More than 70 percent of pedestrian accidents happen outside crosswalks, police said.
Police plan to just give warnings and information to jaywalkers, but they could hand out tickets if they see fit, Davis said. Crosswalk violation citations for drivers cost $151 and tickets for pedestrians, $49.50.
Because alcohol is often a factor for either drivers or pedestrians, the police DUI unit plans its own operation.
St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach police organized a similar event last week. On Dec. 8 and 9, officers handed out 101 citations to drivers and pedestrians who violated crosswalk rules, said St. Petersburg police Lt. William Korinek.
Kim Wilmath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3386.