Police trying to nab drivers who don't yield

April 10, 2009 4:28:57 PM PDT
Chicago police officers say they will be posing as pedestrians soon. Last year, officers only issued warnings to drivers who did not stop when people were in the crosswalk. This time, they will be issuing tickets.The effort will be targeting intersections the one at Michigan and Pierson and others around the city. The crosswalk crackdown will have undercover officers trying to nab motorists who did not yield to those on foot, and there will be a price to pay for not stopping.

"I think it's probably a pretty good idea as a pedestrian, but as a driver, I probably have fault for not stopping for pedestrians, too," pedestrian James Kim said Friday.

Crosswalks stings will be conducted throughout the city. While 200 or more citations for warnings were handed out previously, this year, tickets will be given. It's part of a three-year campaign called Safe Streets Chicago.

"It's really common sense. It's paying attention to your surroundings, not talking on your cell phones, stopping at the white line at a stop sign or stop light," said Chicago Police Dept. Cmdr. Christopher Kennedy.

The effort is part of a Chicago Department of Transportation campaign. With more than 2,000 pedestrian-related accidents, and 50 of them fatal, police say they have no choice.

"A person driving a two-ton vehicle can cause more damage than a person crossing in the middle of the street," said Brian Steele of the Chicago Dept. of Transportation.

The corner of 79th and King Drive will also be apart of the crackdown.

"It's pretty dangerous. Nowadays, it just seems like everyone is in a hurry ,and the cars just doesn't give the pedestrians any right of way," said area residents Greg Judon.

However, some drivers say the campaign isn't fair. They said they wanted to know how much responsibility the pedestrians will share.

"You're trying to watch the street and see where you're going, and you don't always see them," motorist Lori Gruessing told ABC7 Chicago.

The city says don't expect pedestrians to get any tickets. However, fines for motorists will range from $50 to $500.

Drivers can expect the stings to happen twice each week beginning April 20. They will continue until the end of the year.

The city says it will try to be as fair as possible and post the targeted intersections that are going to be under the sting operation, to give motorists a chance to behave themselves when they are heading through.


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