UPDATE: Operation BFF: Law Enforcement Target Unsafe Drivers to Protect Children, Seniors

UPDATE: June 28, 2019

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The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office took their turn helping to make the streets safer by encouraging drivers to yield for pedestrians in marked crosswalks. On Wednesday, June 26, the OCSO participated in Operation Best Foot Forward at three crosswalks: N. Doverplum Ave. and San Remo Rd., Koa St. and Laurel Ave. and Old Dixie Hwy. and Sawdust Trail.

One reason the BFF team chose Old Dixie Highway and Sawdust Trail is because it’s near a neighborhood where kids use the crosswalk to get to a community center. With school out for the summer, more kids are using the crosswalk throughout the day. Before enforcement, we tracked just 12% of drivers were stopping for people in the crosswalk, as Florida law requires. Because of this, and its proximity to the community center, Osceola County recently installed a rectangular rapid flashing beacon. That’s a big sign with a flashing light to warn drivers when there’s a person trying to cross the street.

Doverplum and San Remo, a crosswalk that has been monitored since 2017, had a pre-enforcement yield rate of 35 percent. The Koa and Laurel crosswalk, which lies by a local elementary school, had a pre-enforcement yield rate of 49 percent. Together, these two locations comprised the first two stops of the operation.

Two local news outlets, Positively Osceola and WFTV, came to visit throughout the day. When it was finally time for deputies to pack up, Osceola deputies had issued a total of 24 citations and 10 warnings to drivers who failed to yield to their decoy

Thank you to the deputies at the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office for all of your hard work!

Original Post: June 21, 2019

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You’re driving down a road, and you see someone step into a crosswalk up ahead. So you slow to a stop to let that person safely cross. The concept seems simple, yet last week law enforcement partners in Orange and Osceola counties issued more than 100 warnings and citations for drivers failing to do just that.

On June 19th, teams from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, and the Orlando, Kissimmee and St. Cloud Police Departments enforced nine different crosswalks over the course of the day for Operation Best Foot Forward. Their goal: to get more drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, making those crosswalks safer.

During Operation BFF, “decoys”, or plainclothes deputies and officers walk across a marked crosswalk. They check to see which drivers don’t stop, as Florida law requires. Drivers disobeying the law are pulled over by uniformed officers ahead and given at least a $164 reminder, plus three points on their license. This was Best Foot Forward’s second multi-county enforcement operation.

 

This time the BFF coalition chose a crosswalk where elderly residents have complained drivers won’t stop, so they can’t cross the street safely (Rio Grande Ave. & 40th St.). One crosswalk is near one of the top ten crash corridors, according to MetroPlan Orlando (Columbia St. & Kuhl Ave.). A third enforced crosswalk is in the heart of the tourist district and the site of an Orange County road project (Westwood Blvd. near I-Drive). Those are just a few reasons for picking this set of crosswalks.

With the help of local media coverage, BFF was able to reach more than a million Central Floridians to spread our message of safer streets. Drivers need to stop for people in crosswalks, and more people should use crosswalks.

Thanks to all of our partners for spreading the word, and thank you to our brave law enforcement BFFs for hitting the crosswalks yet again. Next up – the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office will be out ticketing drivers who don’t stop at three crosswalks on June 26th.

Watch media coverage of Operation BFF.

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