Coachella Valley Region
The California Office of Traffic Safety has granted funds several law enforcement agencies in the Coachella Valley in an effort to reduce fatal traffic collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
"We recently received a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for seventy thousand dollars and we’re going to use that to enhance and improve traffic safety and pedestrian safety throughout the city of Indio," said Sgt. Dan Marshall of the Indio Police Department.
The Cathedral City Police Department and the California Highway Patrol received similar grants all aimed at reducing and preventing pedestrian deaths on the roadways.
"What we really want to teach pedestrians is the wives tale of just because they stepped in the road, does not necessarily mean they immediately have the right of way. They have to ensure that their pathway across that street is safe," Marshall said.
The grant money will be used for distracted driving enforcement, bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement and public outreach.
"I jaywalked once and got a ticket for it. Since then I keep it on the cross walk," said Indio resident Weldon Preston.
"I just use the safety way to walk, just push the button and follow the directions, you know? Follow the rules," said Indio resident Maricela Gonzalez.
Experts say the increase in pedestrian deaths may have more to do with drivers than pedestrians.
"Definitely distracted driving. There’s so much technology out there, people with their phones, navigation devices. They’re really pulling their attention away from the roadway to inside the car and we want to see that change and go to the exact opposite get that attention outside of the car and not inside of the car," Marshall said.