Getting darker earlier puts pedestrians at greater risk for injury or death according to the National Association of Highway Safety (NHTSA). That is why the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Kissimmee Police Department and the St. Cloud Police Department are combining resources to conduct the first multi-jurisdictional crosswalk enforcement operation at 11 specific locations starting at 7 am on Wednesday.
Dubbed Operation Best Foot Forward, the crosswalk enforcement aims to increase safety by reminding drivers Florida law requires them to stop and remain stopped for the person crossing a street at a marked crosswalk. To enforce this law, plain-clothed officers will cross at the marked crosswalks while uniformed officers will be nearby to pull over drivers who fail to stop. The cost for violators is a minimum of $164 and three points on the driver’s license. To date, over 4,655 warnings and 3,323 citations have been issued to drivers in Orange and Osceola at 393 crosswalk enforcements.
Operation Best Foot Forward is part of a comprehensive effort in Orange and Osceola county to improve street safety by educating drivers about the laws and behaviors that promote safe drive habits. Studies show that consistent crosswalk enforcement, combined with grassroots education and low-cost engineering, result in increased driver yielding behavior. In 2012, approximately 15 percent of drivers stopped for people when crossing the street at targeted crosswalks in Orange County and City of Orlando. Today, that number hovers closer to 60 percent at those locations.