February marked Operation Best Foot Forward’s (BFF) 19th high-visibility crosswalk enforcement action conducted by Orlando Police Department (OPD) and Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO). The ‘crosswalk crackdown’ reminds drivers to yield and stop for people in marked crosswalks, as Florida law requires. If they don’t, the driver may face $164 ticket and three points on their driver’s license.
OPD and OCSO enforced the driver yield law at seven marked crosswalks starting at 7:30 am until noon on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Three of the seven crosswalks were enforced for the very first time. The good news is the majority of these drivers obeyed the law. The better news is the number of citations seems to be going down. In four hours, only 64 drivers received a citation for failure to yield. Two years ago that number was closer to 120.
Since 2012, more than 7,560 warnings and citations have been issued. And, driver yield rates have increased from an average of 17% to 60% at crosswalks with speeds 35 mph and lower. On roads 40mph and higher, the driver yield rate has increased from just 2% to 34%.
With the percentage of drivers yielding to pedestrians increasing, Best Foot Forward has identified some new crosswalks to monitor and enforce this year. The new crosswalks include:
- Metrowest Boulevard & Eagle Nest Elementary School;
- Mills Avenue & E. Harding Street (near Boone High School);
- Columbia Street & Kuhl Avenue (Orlando Health Campus);
- Pine Street, East of Rosalind Avenue;
- Apopka Vineland, North of Lake Street;
- and Upper Park Road & Oak Street (Baldwin Park – Glenridge Middle).
Since the first Operation BFF, Orange County population has grown an estimated 15% (US Census Bureau) which means more people on the roads. New distractions such as mobile phones have become more prevalent with smart phone users increasing (Pew Research Center).
That’s why continuing to crack down on drivers who don’t yield at crosswalks is essential. The good news is that OPD was awarded a $46,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation to combat pedestrian and cyclist accidents in Orlando through education and enforcement. Part of that grant was used by OPD during the most recent Operation BFF.
In addition to drivers being educated the hard way with citations, local news stations and friends on social media played a significant role in educating people on the driver yield law. WKMG, WFTV, Spectrum News 13 and Fox 35 News reported on the importance of staying alert for people traveling on foot or by bike. Operation BFF made an estimated 851, 372 impressions.
See a recap of the coverage below.