Watch those crosswalks if you’re driving in Point Pleasant Borough.
According to borough police, the department is starting a new program “immediately” in which plain-clothes officers will be posted at crosswalks in busy intersections in town in an attempt to catch drivers who do not stop in accordance with state law.
“The department is conducting this public awareness and enforcement program to educate and encourage members of the community to develop and maintain safe practices while driving, walking and cycling throughout the Borough of Point Pleasant,” Point Pleasant police said in a statement.
The locations and dates of the details were not divulged publicly. The department said only that the undercover operations would take place at “various” times and dates at “various” intersections.
According to police, officers dressed in plain clothes will be crossing the street while uniformed officers monitor the crosswalk for motorists who fail to stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks, or who take “unsafe and illegal actions.” Pedestrians will also be stopped when then have failed to use due care as a pedestrian. Drivers and pedestrians stopped during this safety operation will be issued warnings – along with educational materials – or citations.
The state’s crosswalk law has proven controversial since it was introduced in 2012. The law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians crossing in marked crosswalks, however critics say it has often led to confusion and increased danger, with motorists stopping at green lights, drivers taking their eyes off the road to look for pedestrians about to cross, and pedestrians unsafely crossing intersections under the assumption that drivers see them and will stop. It has been opposed by numerous municipalities, especially those in the Shore area, including Long Beach Township and Lavallette.
Proponents of the law say pedestrians are safer when motorists are obligated to come to a complete stop, versus a previous law that required them to yield.
The focus of the Point Pleasant Borough campaign will be education, officials said.
“This pedestrian safety operation is another tool our department can utilize to improve traffic safety and educate motorists,” said Captain Robert Lokerson. “When approaching a crosswalk where pedestrians are present, drivers must stop for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk. This operation will serve as a reminder of this responsibility and we expect that voluntary compliance will be improved as a result. Those who choose to ignore the law and the message, however, will be deterred from future violations through enforcement.”
“As is the case with any other traffic law, it is easy to avoid a ticket – in this case, simply stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk,” Lokerson said.