San Diego Police Warns Against ‘Distracted Walking'

Police officers hoping to curb pedestrian fatalities with education and enforcement

Police are cautioning pedestrians against "distracted walking," which is a problem, they say, among teenagers, young adults and just about anyone with a cell phone.

Thursday, NBC 7 set up a camera at a busy Rancho Penasquitos intersection next to Mount Carmel High School to see if students walking to school were using their phones.

The video showed student after student crossed the street with their eyes glued to their phone--many texting rather than looking up at the cars around them.

Officer Emilio Ramirez with the San Diego Police Department's Traffic Division told NBC 7, cell phones pose a problem with pedestrians because once they're pulled in, it becomes difficult to get pulled out.

San Diego police are now going to different neighborhoods where pedestrian related crashes have occurred more often over the past three years and have been setting up pedestrian safety enforcement operations.

The operations start with officers handing out educational pamphlets to pedestrians but often end with citations for various offenses including jaywalking and failing to yield to drivers who have the right of way.

SDPD also issued the following safety tips for pedestrians:

  • Be Predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey signs and signals.
  • Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
  • Pay attention to the traffic moving around you. This is not the time to be texting or talking on a cell phone.
  • Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
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