Only three in 10 drivers in Saint Paul stop for people crossing the streets at non-signaled crosswalks, according to city researchers.
The Saint Paul Police Department hopes to change that.
On Monday, April 30, the department kicked off its annual “Stop for Me” campaign, which is an effort to keep the city’s streets are safe for everyone. Officers will partner with volunteers to hold awareness and enforcement events across the city to ensure that drivers are stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks throughout the city.
Officers will also focus their attention on multi-threat crashes, which occur when pedestrians are crossing four-lane roads and a driver pulls around a vehicle that has stopped for a person crossing the street.
Often, the driver that pulls around the stopped vehicle is unaware that a pedestrian is crossing the street—hence the reason the first vehicle stopped.
This year, officers will be more likely to check the “Endangerment” box on citations when drivers who failed to stop have endangered life or property—meaning the driver must appear in court rather than simply paying a fine.
“This is a very serious violation and that’s why the city’s police officers will be taking the extra step to ‘check the box’ when it is reasonable to do so,” said Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell. “Every one of these crashes is avoidable. We all need to do our part to drive safely and obey the law.”
In addition, researchers from the City of Saint Paul, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the University of Minnesota will conduct a study designed to understand how to change drivers’ behavior to ensure that motorists stop for pedestrians—every time, without exception.
Researchers will monitor several of the city’s busiest intersections throughout the summer:
- Snelling and Blair Avenues
- Randolph Avenue and Prior Avenue South
- East Seventh Street and Bates Avenue
- Summit Avenue and Chatsworth Street South
- Dale and Jessamine Streets
- Maryland Avenue East and Walsh Street
- White Bear Avenue and Nebraska Avenue East
- Marion Street and Charles Avenue.
Each year, dozens of Saint Paul pedestrians legally crossing the street are struck by vehicles driven by motorists who fail to stop . In 2017, there were 192 vehicle-pedestrian crashes in Saint Paul, three of which proved deadly.