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East County News Service

City has had 20 fatalities and 205 injury collisions with pedestrians in the past three years

June 11, 2018 (El Cajon) – The El Cajon Police Department will step up pedestrian safety enforcement operations in the month of June, focusing on collision causing factors involving motorists and pedestrians.  Routine traffic patrols will focus efforts in trouble spots, while special targeted patrols will also be deployed to crackdown on drivers and pedestrians who violate traffic laws meant to protect all roadway users, says Lieutenant Steve Kirk.

The department has mapped out locations over the past two years where pedestrian involved collisions have occurred, along with the violations that led to those crashes.  Officers will be looking for traffic offenses made by drivers and pedestrians alike that can lead to life changing injuries.  Special attention will be directed toward drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in cross walks or any other dangerous violation.  Additionally, enforcement will be taken for observed violations when pedestrians cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way. Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or intersections.

Pedestrian fatalities are rising in California as more people use non-motorized means of transportation.  Locally, El Cajon Police Department has investigated 20 fatal and 205 injury collisions involving pedestrians during the past three years. In 2013, California had 701 pedestrian deaths accounting for over 23 percent of all roadway fatalities, much higher than the national average of 15 percent.

A national study reveals that pedestrians and drivers do not obey laws and signals consistently and many often use cell phones, text and listen to music while walking or driving. Only 60 percent of pedestrians said they expected drivers to stop when they were in crosswalks, even though they have the right-of-way. 

The following safety tips can save lives and stop this tragedy witnessed far too often in El Cajon.

Drivers can:

  • Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk where pedestrians are likely to be.
  • Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians too.
  • Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path.

Pedestrians can:

  • Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey signs and signals.
  • Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
  • Pay attention to the traffic moving around you. This is not the time to be texting or talking on a cell phone.
  • Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
  • Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.
  • Look left-right-left before crossing a street.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Pedestrian test dummies

Yeah, I've seen many stupid actions performed by ignorant pedestrians. Woe to the driver who through no fault of their own hits one and causes serious injury or death. That person has to live with an ugly image for a very long time. Silly pedestrians need to get a clue. Use common sense or suffer the consequences. This applies to bicyclists, skateboarders and scooters charging into the street from a sidewalk, right into the path of vehicles. The auto is going to win every time. Flesh & bone versus steel, it's easy computation.Understanding rules of the road and compliance is sadly lacking with many people.

El Cajon Police

They should do this year round using unmarked vehicles and undercover traffic enforcement officers, because these issues happen 12 months of the year. Boots on the ground like many big cities do. I walk every day and constantly encounter problems with aggressive, ignorant drivers. Having more close encounters than I can remember, I will say it's getting worse all the time. Speeding, not stopping fully at a red light while making a right turn - or coming to a full stop when pedestrians are crossing in front of them, talking on cell phones, and more. Then there's bicycle riders - kids and adults using sidewalks as their personal racetrack, skaters not giving proper room for pedestrians. And of course people jay walking quite often. Pedestrians must be hyper aware these days. Thank you ECPD for this enforcement, everything helps.

Another issue is pedestrians wearing dark clothes at night

and either jaywalking or just stepping off the curb without looking.  I've nearly hit people a couple of times, while driving the speed limit or less at night, when someone was walking out in the street after dark and were nearly impossible to see dark clothing.

It's safer to wear light-colored clothes or if you must wear dark ones such as for religious reasons or a work uniform, put reflectors on your clothes when you walk after dark.Even my dogs have flashing lights now on their collars when we walk them after dark in our neighborhood, which has no streetlights or sidewalks (in an unincorporated area, not El Cajon).

ECPD has done a lot to try and educate pedestrians on the importance of following safety laws and not wearing all dark clothes at night, but way too many people don't comply.

Many of the people out and about at night are homeless in El Cajon; perhaps giving them reflective items to wear at night might help? 


Even just use your cell phone flash light.

I don't love wasting my phone's battery after I've been using it to livetweet a game, but after a game is often when I'm walking around at night and I have a portable charger and there's no streetlights around where I'm walking anyway.