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Delaware police to begin pedestrian safety education initiative

 In October, a Wilmington man was killed here on Pulaski Highway after being struck by a car. He was not using a crosswalk. (John Jankowksi/for NewsWorks)

In October, a Wilmington man was killed here on Pulaski Highway after being struck by a car. He was not using a crosswalk. (John Jankowksi/for NewsWorks)

Next week Delaware State Police will begin efforts to educate the public about pedestrian safety as part of a state-wide initiative to decrease Delaware’s pedestrian fatalities.

The effort is part of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety’s enforcement and education initiative that combines police and community engagement and advertising campaigns.

“We just want to let the public know, ‘You have to be safe,’” said MCorp. Jeffrey Hale, public information officer for the Delaware State Police. “You’re out there trying to dodge a two to three thousand pound vehicle, and you have to be safe.”

Pedestrian fatalities make up about 30 percent of all road fatalities combined, according to DOHS. In 2015 there were 35 fatalities—up from 2014’s total of 27.

Data received by the DOHS also shows that most of these incidents occurred when pedestrians weren’t using a crosswalk, and a large percentage of the pedestrians were intoxicated.

Between Feb. 10th and Feb. 20th from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., police will be stationed along Naamans Road and Philadelphia Pike in Wilmington—an area with high numbers of pedestrian fatalities and accidents—in an attempt to decrease the numbers.

“Pedestrian accidents are traumatic experiences for everyone involved, not only the trooper that shows up, but the fire people, emergency medical services, witnesses that may have seen it, so we want to alleviate that as much as we can by doing this initiative,” Hale said.

Police will patrol the area for individuals who don’t use designated crosswalks, walk without a light or who walk while intoxicated.

Troopers will communicate with pedestrians and educate them on how to prevent accidents, such as using crosswalks and sidewalks, looking both ways, wearing reflective materials at night and to avoid walking after consuming alcohol or drugs.

The police department also will assign troopers to the Rt. 202 corridor, I-95 and I-495 in an effort to reduce crime and traffic crashes by targeting aggressive and careless drivers.

Hale said police presence is not only to enforce the laws on the books, but to educate the public.

“If we see someone walking down street not carrying a flashlight, instead of giving them a ticket we’re going to stop and talk to them and say, ‘This is a dangerous thing you’re doing, these are the things you need to do to protect yourself,’ and hopefully that will cut down a lot of these accidents,” he said.

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