As of April 1, there's a new law in town. Motorists must come to a complete stop for pedestrians at a crosswalk. The older law allowed for a yield, or rolling stop, but as of April 1, 2010, failure to stop completely comes with one or more of the following:
- 2 Points
- $200 Fine (plus court costs)
- 15 Days Community Service
- Insurance Surcharges
Pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility. Pedestrians themselves must obey signals and use crosswalks, or risk a $54.00 fine.
Patch spent time talking to officers last week, during a warning period for Springfield, where warning cards were issued in lieu of tickets.
Traffic Officer Jon Rachel walked back and forth through the crosswalk at Mountain and Remer Avenues, testing the waters. Corporal John Foster looked on and radioed to officers posted adjacent to the crosswalk. Drivers were stopped and given a warning card when they violated the new law.
"The idea is to protect everybody," said Cpl. Foster, as a woman drove by while fiddling with her cell phone. "This is a six-thousand pound machine that you're driving."
Cpl. Foster was hit by a car while working a traffic post, and was subsequently out of work for 16 months, so he's especially invested in traffic safety. He wants to get across to motorists that driving a car is a large responsibility—and it isn't one that can be done on autopilot, so to speak.
"You're driving this piece of machinery and you need to know what's going on around you, you need to pay attention."
As for foot traffic, Cpl. Foster cites that old adage from a 1970s Public Service Announcement; "cross at the green, not in between." The PSA, still available thanks to the wonder of the Internet, elaborates: "It means cross at the corner, never in the middle of the block. Don't walk until the light turns green. Always cross at corners where motorists expect you, and you can see them. In Springfield, there are crosswalks not at lights, but these safety measures still holds true.
Cpl. Foster points out that Springfield is still Smalltown, U.S.A. There may be county roads with delivery trucks, but foot traffic is still a big part of how to get around in Springfield.