Austin Police Work to Combat Rise in Pedestrian Fatalities in the City

As an Austin child injury attorney, I work to protect the rights of children who have suffered a serious accident due to the negligence of another party. I recently read about another pedestrian traffic fatality that occurred in Austin. The incident reminded me that the number of pedestrian fatalities has been steadily increasing in Austin over the past few years. 

In 2011, 21 pedestrians died in Austin traffic accidents. This is a sharp increase compared to the 10 deaths in 2010. The number of pedestrian accidents rose again in 2012, with 27 fatal auto-pedestrian accidents as of October 23, 2012. 

A pedestrian, especially a child, has little physical protection against a car or some other type of motor vehicle. The resulting injuries can be fatal. Those who survive may end up with permanent physical and emotional damage. 

Because preventable pedestrian deaths are such a problem in Austin, the Austin Police Department (APD) is working hard to improve the situation. In October 2011, the APD developed an initiative called the Pedestrian Enforcement Safety Team (PEST). During a PEST watch, APD officers choose a stretch of road and work as a team. One officer poses as a pedestrian about to enter a crosswalk. Additional uniformed officers on motorcycles watch from a short distance away. The team issues citations to drivers who do not yield to pedestrians and pedestrians who ignore the crosswalk signals or run across the middle of the road. Violations include: 

Motor Vehicle Driver

  • Failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
  • Blocking a crosswalk with a vehicle
  • Disregarding a pedestrian controlled traffic signal 

Pedestrian

  • Crossing the road at some point other than the crosswalk
  • Crossing the road where prohibited (I-35 , MoPAC, etc)
  • Soliciting a ride from the driver of a vehicle
  • Walking in the road 

The APD has continued the use of the PEST initiative in 2012. Another targeted operation was just completed in the city of Austin that ticketed pedestrians and drivers who were not following pedestrian laws. As adults, we all need to practice safe behavior and follow the law when walking and crossing the street. In addition, it is imperative that we teach our children to be safe pedestrians. If you or your child has been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, contact me, Austin child injury attorney David Todd. Call me today at 512-472-7799 for a free consultation. You may also wish to download a free copy of my book Seven Deadly Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Texas Accident Case for additional information.

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