On many San Diego freeways and highways Monday morning, local drivers were greeted by signs saying, “Be Alert Pedestrians Don’t Have Armor.”
The electronic signs above many of San Diego’s busiest commuter paths are the result of a safety partnership between the California Department of Transportation, the state Office of Traffic Safety and California Highway Patrol.
The goal of the campaign is to make drivers think more about the vulnerability of pedestrians.
Chris Cochran of the state Office of Traffic Safety said, “Fault in crashes involving pedestrians is reasonably split between drivers and pedestrians, but no matter who is at fault, pedestrians always lose.”
According to the Office of Traffic Safety, pedestrians make up 25% of all fatalities on California roadways, and those numbers are on the rise. In 2009, there were 570 pedestrian fatalities in California, in 2015, there were 813 pedestrian fatalities.
In addition to the spike in pedestrian fatalities, safety officials launched the campaign after noting that both car drivers and pedestrians are increasingly distracted, often because of smart phones. More pedestrians wear ear buds to listen to music or podcasts, taking their attention away from the streets around them.
Cochran says drivers should be ready for pedestrians at all time.
The “Be Alert Pedestrians Don’t Have Armor” signs debuted in San Diego last weekend, and stretch from San Ysidro to Oceanside, and as far east as Lakeside.