By Mrs. Melissa K Buckley (Leonard Wood)April 10, 2014
Stopping at crosswalks for pedestrians is not an option -- it is state law.
Thanks to a Fort Leonard Wood Garrison initiative to increase awareness of crosswalks to motorists and safety of pedestrians, there are 20 new strategically placed portable warning signs spread across post to alert drivers.
"During the past few months, many personnel have expressed their concern about crosswalk safety on the installation," Lt. James Stewart, Traffic Management and Collision Investigations officer-in-charge. "Pedestrian safety is a major concern to the military police Soldiers and civilian police officers at the Directorate of Emergency Services, and will become a major focus when the weather starts warming up and more people are out walking to various activities on the installation."
According to Missouri Law 300.375, when pedestrians are in a crosswalk, drivers must stop and yield to their right of way.
If there is a vehicle at a crosswalk that has stopped to yield to a pedestrian, it's illegal to pass the vehicle.
Subsection 4 of the same law states whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway; the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
"Pedestrians also have a legal obligation when crossing any roadway. Some of those obligations are that pedestrians cannot walk into a crosswalk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close, that it is impossible for the driver of the crosswalk to yield," said Sgt. Anthony Narug, Traffic Management and Collision Investigations noncommissioned officer-in-charge.
According to Missouri Law 300.390, every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
Also, pedestrians are not supposed to cross a road where adjacent intersections have signals in place or crosswalks.
"For example, on Replacement Avenue adjacent to the Exchange, you are only legally allowed to cross in the marked crosswalks by Burger King, or the ACS Building," Narug said.
Pedestrians are not supposed to cross an intersection diagonally, either.
"You must follow the crosswalks or the traffic control devices at the intersection to cross the roadway. You may only cross diagonally if authorized to do so, by the traffic control device," Narug said.
In the coming months, military police Soldiers and civilians will be out patrolling and watching the various crosswalks across the installation.
"The Directorate of Emergency Services will continue to ensure your safety by enforcing the pedestrian laws. Remember to look out for the pedestrian signs in various crosswalk areas around the installation while driving and always ensure you use the crosswalks whenever possible when walking. Crosswalk and pedestrian safety is everyone's responsibility," said John Andrewcavage, Law Enforcement Operations chief. "Any infractions of the traffic laws listed in this article may result in a citation being issued and may result in two points being adjudged against your installation driving record per infraction."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,743 pedestrians died in accidents in 2012, which accounted for 14 percent of the overall traffic fatalities for 2012. There were 76,000 pedestrians injured in accidents accounting for three percent of the overall traffic injuries.