SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department is alerting the public about September being Pedestrian Safety Month and that the Police Department is joining the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), along with other law enforcement agencies, transportation agencies and pedestrian advocates to promote public awareness aimed at pedestrian safety.

According to a press release Canyon News received from Sgt. Roberto Villegas of the SMPD, in California and across the country, the number of pedestrians killed or injured on the road is increasing. In 2016, 867 pedestrians were killed and over 14,000 injured in the state of California. That is an increase of nearly 33 percent from 2012. In 2017, the SMPD investigated five fatal pedestrian collisions and another 660 major injury collisions.

Traffic officers working overtime and those on routine patrol will focus enforcement both on drivers, as well as pedestrians who violate traffic laws, such as speeding, making illegal turns, driving distracted, failing to stop for signs and signals, or failing to yield to drivers or pedestrians.

The Santa Monica Police Department supports efforts by OTS to educate drivers that “Pedestrians Don’t Have Armor.” The campaign highlights the importance of pedestrian safety awareness, regardless of whether one is on foot or behind the wheel.

Pedestrians are encouraged to use crosswalks or intersections with a stop sign or light, make eye contact with drivers and look before stepping into a crosswalk. Drivers should be aware of pedestrians, use caution when backing up and be courteous and patient, and wait for pedestrians with the right of way to safely cross street. Both drivers and pedestrians are encouraged to avoid distractions by not using cell phones and focusing on the task at hand.

Funding for this enforcement campaign is provided to the Santa Monica Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.