Aligning with the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) statewide Mobility Week, Operation Best Foot Forward…
As the daylight hours grew shorter, law enforcement agencies across Central Florida took the opportunity to remind drivers of their responsibility to be alert and always yield or stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks. Deputies from Orange, Osceola, and Seminole County Sheriff’s Offices, as well as officers from the Orlando, Kissimmee, Oakland, Casselberry and University of Central Florida Police Departments conducted 11 details during the November 9 – 11 Operation Best Foot Forward, issuing 261 warnings and citations.
“The number of traffic fatalities often go up the weeks following the end of daylight savings time, and we are trying to reverse that trend,” said Emily Hanna, Bike/Walk Central Florida executive director, who helps manage the Best Foot Forward program.
Dubbed Operation Best Foot Forward, crosswalk enforcement actions are part of a greater, comprehensive effort to educate drivers about Florida’s driver yield laws and curb the pattern of aggressive behavior towards pedestrians. During the operation, plainclothes deputies and officers cross the street at marked crosswalks, giving drivers ample time to yield as Florida law requires. Drivers who fail to comply may be issued a warning or a citation starting at $164 and three points on their license.
“It’s not that we want to penalize people,” said Orange County Commissioner Maya Uribe, who observed one of the details. “The idea is to try to get people to slow down a little and make sure you are looking at what is happening around you in your communities.”
In addition to Commissioner Uribe, other officials – including Kissimmee Mayor Olga Gonzales, Kissimmee Commissioner Jim Fisher, Seminole County Commissioner Bob Dallari, Orange County Commissioner Wilson’s policy aide Hannah Gutner, and Oakland City Manager Steve Koontz – took time from their busy schedules to observe one of the details and show support of the program and law enforcement officers.
As part of Operation Best Foot Forward, media outlets are encouraged to cover the details to expand the educational reach. “The goal of the program isn’t to issue tickets; it’s to remind drivers of Florida’s yield laws and change bad driving behaviors,” said Hanna. “Sharing this message through the media helps us reach thousands more Central Floridians.” During the November Operation Best Foot Forward, the program made more than 1.8 million impressions on local viewers throughout the region via traditional media and social media.
In summary, this three-day high-visibility enforcement operation consisted of:
- 8 Law enforcement agencies
- 11 Details at Best Foot Forward crosswalks
- 231 Failure to Yield to Pedestrian warnings and citations issued
- Attendance from 5 elected officials and 10 coalition members
- 66 Media placements
- 1.8 Million Impressions (views)
- Impact value of $217,000 (ad-value equivalency)