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Waltham police on the lookout for vehicles not stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  July 12, 2012 03:28 PM

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Waltham police officers will be ramping up efforts this summer to issue violations and fines to drivers failing to stop for pedestrians walking in a crosswalk.

The initiative comes after Waltham has seen three pedestrians die after being struck by vehicles in the past year, including a graduate student from Bentley University, said Waltham's Sgt. William Gallant.

"We’re a very congested city with traffic, especially with the downtown area," Gallant said. "There are so many cars on the road, and they’re not stopping for pedestrians."

Drivers can rake up a fine of $200 for not stopping for walkers, Gallant said.

Gallant said police will be on the lookout for violators for the next two weeks, and then will be ramping up efforts intermittently throughout the years to come "to keep people on their toes."

He said that the police department pursued crosswalk violators earlier this summer for a month, and immediately saw a decrease in drivers blowing by pedestrians.

"Especially on the main roads, word gets around after we’ve done it a couple weeks, especially toward the tail end," Gallant said. "People start to slow down, and we see less violations."

He said many drivers fail to stop for pedestrians when the walkers step off the curb and into the crosswalk.

Gallant emphasized that drivers must slow down and stop for anyone walking in the crosswalk directly in front of them, or for a walker about to be in front of the driver.

"If the person is crossing across the eastbound driving lane, the westbound driving lane has to stop," Gallant said. "If they don't allow them to pass, that's a violation."

Drivers can continue once the pedestrian has crossed and opened up sufficient space for the vehicle to pass, he said.

Gallant said police will be enforcing the law throughout all of Waltham, with emphasis on crosswalks near parks, in the downtown area, and in areas that receive complaints from residents.

To learn more about how to appropriately stop for a person in a crosswalk, visit the Massachusetts General Laws website page outlining the issue.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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