The Carson City Sheriff’s Office conducted a pedestrian safety operation Thursday to educate drivers on watching for people in the crosswalks as a part of their Joining Forces event.
Don Quilici, Outside Work Project Coordinator for the Sheriff’s Office, was the decoy pedestrian, dressed in neon orange clothing, and spent the day crossing the street at crosswalks to teach drivers to be watching and stopping for pedestrians. They conducted the operation at Fairview and Gordon, N. Carson Street, S. Carson Street and Stewart Street and watched for drivers who didn’t stop for Quilici. In total, 62 citations were issued.
“I think it’s scary (being the pedestrian) because of those people that don’t see you and stop,” Quilici said. “You have to kind of dance while you are out there (to avoid getting hit).”
The operation is important because with summer starting, more people and children are out and drivers need to be aware of pedestrian crossings. Many of the citations the officers gave out during the operation were for distracted driving such as cell phone use because that plays a large factor in pedestrian versus vehicle crashes.
“Distracted driving is a big issue because people are looking a mile ahead and not in front of them to see people crossing,” said Sgt. Scott McDaniel. “We need to get people to be aware and get people to slow down, look up from their cell phones because those are the things that create the issues.”
Quilici said while he was crossing the street, the drivers who were paying attention and alert were the safe ones, however, not every driver was as attentive.
“People making eye contact with you will be the ones who stomp on the breaks, but there are the ones who you can see don’t even see me, they are just looking ahead on the road,” Quilici said.
So far in Carson City in 2016, there have been three pedestrian versus vehicle fatalities, including one at Fairview and Gordon, where Quilici was walking.
“In 2014 and 2015 we had one pedestrian fatality apiece and this year were are up to three and that is just three too many,” McDaniel said. “Our goal is zero and we need the public’s help getting to that.”
Joining Forces will conduct another pedestrian operation next week, prior to EpicRides, in order to make drivers attentive of people around the roadways.
According to McDaniel:
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nationally, 4,735 people were killed in 2013. Nevada consistently ranks among the 10 worst States for pedestrian fatalities. Nearly 90 percent of pedestrians and drivers involved in fatal crashes are
local residents, not visitors! (NHTSA and UNLV TRC) The Carson City Sheriff’s Office reminds you to “Watch for pedestrians in the crosswalks”.
Grant Funding for this event is provided by the Nevada Department of Public Safety-Office of Traffic Safety. These monies are used to pay for additional deputies who participate in these events.
Joining Forces is a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement program that promotes statewide enforcement in the areas of DUI, distracted driving, seat belt use, speeding and pedestrian safety. The goal of these enforcement campaigns is to save lives by increasing public awareness about the dangers of making poor choices while driving.