Mayor to launch campaign for safer streets

Mayor to launch campaign for safer streets

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It is only three months into 2015, but it has already been a more deadly year for vehicle-involved accidents in Tucson than last year.

City of Tucson Police are reporting so far, a total of 15 people died have died in 2015. Four of them pedestrians, according to police none of them were using a crosswalk.

In 2014, there were at total of 10 deaths. Three of them pedestrians.

Those numbers do not count the many more 'near misses' by drivers or 'close calls' for pedestrians using a crosswalk.

The high amount of pedestrian injuries and incidents in Tucson have put the city on the map. The Federal Highway Administration has designated Tucson a 'Pedestrian Safety Focus City.'

However it is not always the driver's fault. Some pedestrians are careless, too impatient to wait for the crosswalk signal, and decide to jaywalk.

The City of Tucson wants everyone to start taking the road rules more seriously.

Today, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will kick off a new campaign aimed to make roads safe and accessible for all users. He has pledged to improve safety through specific activities, including crosswalk enforcement operations. Nearly 200 other communities nationwide are also participating in it.

The announcement to launch the 'Mayors' Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets,' is scheduled to take place at 6th Street and National Championship Drive in front of Arizona Stadium at 9 a.m.

One of the crosswalk enforcement programs will include undercover TPD officers. They will be dressed in plain clothes and cross the street while uniformed officers monitor the crosswalk for drivers who fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. The goal is to educate both drivers and pedestrians on right-of-way laws. TPD officials say it is the first time they are conducting an operation like this.

The crosswalk enforcement program is also sponsored by and paid for by a grant from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. The goal is to help reduce the number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and injuries on roads and school zones through enforcement, education, and public awareness.

If caught, drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk in Tucson, will pay a $225 citation.

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