On Monday, November 9, St. Petersburg Police Department announced the beginning of a six-month High Visibility Enforcement campaign.
According to the SPPD, Pinellas County is among the top 25 counties in Florida for traffic crashes “resulting in serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.”
The Florida Department of Transportation awarded SPPD a $53,764 contract to help reduce pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and increase compliance of traffic laws that protect them.
“Working in partnership with the Institute for Police Technology and Management and the University of North Florida, this traffic safety initiative is part of the Florida Department of Transportation’s, ‘Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow’ campaign,” read the SPPD’s statement.
“Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow” is Florida’s pedestrian- and bicyclist-focused initiative.
“Pedestrians and bicyclists are the most vulnerable road users. Traffic crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists are more likely to result in serious or fatal injuries than other traffic crashes. The physical, emotional, and economic impacts caused by these crashes are significant,” says the program website.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, integrating programs like ATAT “lets the public know that traffic enforcement is an agency priority. It also assists in reducing other crimes while at the same time creates general deterrence and encourages voluntary compliance of traffic laws.”
The SPPD reported seven pedestrian fatalities and two bicycle fatalities for both 2019 and 2020, but organizers hope to further reduce those numbers.
Over the next six months, education and enforcement efforts will be conducted along major roadways in St. Petersburg, including 49th Street, 34th Street, 54th Avenue North, 4th Street North, MLK Street and others.
SPPD reminds drivers, pedestrians and bikers to obey traffic laws and remain vigilant while on the road. Pedestrians and bikers should use crosswalks when possible, and make sure they are visible to drivers, especially at night.
The initiative will continue through May 2021.