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Police: pedestrians responsible at crosswalks, not just drivers

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Mar 07 2013 06:57:15 PM CST

With close to 20 schools in the Idaho Falls area, police said they're constantly patrolling school zones and writing tickets -- but not always to those behind the wheel.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Statistics show that every hour, around 8 people are injured in a crosswalk.

With close to 20 schools in the Idaho Falls area, police said they're constantly patrolling school zones and writing tickets -- but not always to those behind the wheel.

The Idaho Falls Police Department said where most kids go wrong is thinking that as a pedestrian, they always have the right of way but in most cases, cops end up ticketing the students.

"Kids, younger kids, teens, believe it's their right to cross the street and all vehicles have to stop for them," said Buck Rogers, IFPD officer.

And while cars do have to stop for them, students also have to give them plenty of room and time to stop, or they could be ones getting a failure to yield ticket.

"If a vehicle is within 27 feet of that crosswalk, and someone steps out in that crosswalk and gets hit, that car has much less of a chance of stopping in time," said Rogers.

Rogers said IFPD often does what's called a "saturation." Officers go undercover and hit the streets, taking note of which crosswalks around town are the most dangerous and ticketing drivers who fail to yield.

Officials said the percentage of vehicle accidents involving pedestrians is on the rise throughout the U.S., especially with teens ages 15-19.

"The students believe they can just step right out there and they're King's X," said Rogers. "A 2,000 pound car doesn't know what King's X is and they can get hit."

The City of Rexburg passed an ordinance actually making it illegal for pedestrians to be on cell phones or other electronic devices while using a crosswalk -- encouraging them to pay attention to the road.

Idaho Falls and Pocatello don't have any rules against it.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one pedestrian is killed every two hours.

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