Woonsocket Launches Crosswalk Safety Program

By: Tim Studebaker

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WLNE) – Rhode Island state law is clear.  If there’s a pedestrian in the crosswalk, drivers that can safely stop, must stop to let that person cross.

Woonsocket Police Deputy Chief Michael Lemoine says, “It’s a little harrowing stepping out into that crosswalk and people zooming by.”

A new program in the city aims to make sure drivers follow the law.

Lemoine says, “So the ultimate goal obviously is pedestrian safety.”

Using grant money and special training, Woonsocket Police are hitting the pavement, going undercover to catch people in the act.

Lemoine says, “What we’ll have is an officer who is dressed in civilian clothing actually walk in the crosswalks and look for compliance.”

To start, they chose the crosswalk directly in front of the police station, giving drivers appropriate stopping time if they’re driving at the speed limit.

Woonsocket Police Patrolman Joseph Zinni says, “We measured in a 25 mile an hour roadway, 162 feet is a reasonable amount of time to stop.”

In the first few days, out of 144 crossings, they pulled over 10 drivers to point out what they did wrong.  Some of the violations included a driver who didn’t stop at all, and a motorcyclist who tried to pass between two cars that had stopped to let the officer cross.  They issued 4 tickets.

Woonsocket Police Patrolman Gregory Klocek says, “I think out of everyone that was stopped, I think that they knew what occurred.  They were very compliant and apologetic.”

By the way, safety is a two way street.  The law says it’s up to drivers and pedestrians.

Lemoine says, “They also have a responsibility to use crosswalks and not just to step out in front of a car.”

Tickets come with an $85 fine.

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