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Salinas Asking Pedestrians To Play It Safe After Teen Dies on Christmas Day

By Marissa Schwartz, Reporter, MarissaSchwartz@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Dec 27 2013 01:17:42 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 27 2013 09:50:59 AM CST

Salinas Police have been dealing with a spike in deadly pedestrian accidents. This comes as more sad news of yet another young woman's untimely death after being hit by a car a couple weeks ago.

SALINAS, Calif. -

Salinas Police have been dealing with a spike in deadly pedestrian accidents.  This comes as more sad news of yet another young woman's untimely death after being hit by a car a couple weeks ago. 

Salinas Police said there have been twelve deadly crashes this year and seven of them have involved a pedestrian.  Salinas police said a lack of officers to patrol the streets could be a contributing factor.

"We are down the number of officers we have.  So the enforcement is down and there have been many studies that show that writing traffic citations reduces the number of traffic violations you have," said Sergeant Gerard Ross. 

The department is down to two traffic officers from the eight it used to have.  Sergeant Ross said the chief plans to keep those two officers on the streets.  But he said drivers and pedestrians need to do their part as well.

"Even if the pedestrian's got the right of way, they should be very careful and look both ways and try and make eye contact with the driver so that they know the drivers have seen them," Ross said.

Officers said it's never safe to just run across the street.  So they're asking everyone to press the button at the crosswalk and wait until it's safe to walk.  In light of this year's deaths, officers are being encouraged to write more tickets for jaywalking and for drivers who fail to yield to pedestrian.  The department said it's doing what it can to make improve intersections where deadly crashes have happened before.

"The traffic engineers when they design the streets, they try to make sure they're safe and then as collisions happen and it appears that the intersection is not as safe as it should be, then we make changes to try and make them safer," Ross said.

Officers said jaywalking can cost you a minimum of $500.  They some streets around Salinas seem to have more jaywalkers than others.  But no matter what, everyone should always use the crosswalk.