Traffic around campus is downright chaotic at times.
With another auto-pedestrian injury last week, and four auto-pedestrian deaths near campus since 2006, I don’t understand why people criticize the Rexburg Police Department for trying to do something about street safety.
In addition to investing in billboards and street signs to remind drivers and pedestrians to “share the road” and giving free movie tickets to pedestrians who correctly use crosswalks, the police have recently been ticketing jaywalkers. Usually, police give warnings without a fine to jaywalkers, but does that really stop people from jaywalking?
In a recent letter to the editor, Glen Turnbow, a senior studying communication, accused the police department of trying “to make revenue” by enforcing the law.
The $75 fine does seem a bit excessive, and we tight-budgeted students might learn with a lower fine; however, as heavy-handed as it may seem, if that’s what it takes, the police are justified.
If the police were actually trying to make money off us, why would they tip people off beforehand with fliers every time they conduct the occasional jaywalking “blitz”?
There are, as Turnbow points out, statistics showing more auto-pedestrian accidents happen within crosswalks; though to conclude that jaywalking is safer than using a crosswalk is a mistake—it would be chaos if we all did (not to mention how inconsiderate it is).
On the other side, it would also be a mistake for pedestrians to see crosswalks as providing some kind of a “magic barrier.” Maybe that’s why police will be addressing attentiveness and crosswalk safety in the future. There needs to be order and attentiveness on both the driver and pedestrian.
Despite frequent accidents, many students don’t take street safety seriously.
In a recent I~News story, Chase Ford, a freshman studying psychology, said jaywalking isn’t “that big of a deal because the cars in Rexburg drive so slow anyways. They can see if anybody’s out in the street.”
Then why, according to the Rexburg Police Department, from 2006 to 2010 were there 127 minor injuries and 28 serious injuries to add to the previously mentioned four deaths, all from auto-pedestrian accidents near campus?
Fortunately for us, the police are taking it seriously. In addition to ticketing jaywalkers, the police department will launch an educational campaign this fall with signs and videos to try to improve crosswalk safety. I feel sorry not only for the student who was injured last week, but also for the driver in the car. I don’t know who was at fault, and I don’t care. It doesn’t matter.
None of us like to get those emails from the university with the subject line “Student Death,” especially if there’s something we can do to avoid it; I hope all of us, pedestrian or driver, on both sides of the windshield, will make a concerted effort to be attentive, obey the law and use common sense on the road.