More enforcement needed to prevent pedestrian collisions: safety advocate

HALIFAX – After five pedestrians were struck on Wednesday, one safety advocate says police should have a unit dedicated to crosswalk enforcement.

Speaking at the city’s Crosswalk Safety Advisory Committee, Norm Collins said a dedicated enforcement unit in other cities has led to more tickets and fewer collisions.

“There is data out of Montreal that shows that the number of tickets has gone up considerably, the number of collisions that have involved injury or fatality has gone down,” said Collins.

No one was seriously injured in Wednesday’s accidents but statistics show pedestrians being struck by vehicles have gone up more than 70 per cent since last year. In the first 9 months of 2013, city statistics show there were 89 collisions involving pedestrians. In the same time period this year there were 151.

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A study of a dedicated crosswalk enforcement in Gainesville, Florida showed a similar trend said Collins. More enforcement led to more tickets and fewer accidents.

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The committee told Collins a proposal like his had to go directly to the Police Commission because they can’t tell the police how to spend their budget. However, Sgt. Steve Calder, the police representative on the committee, said he’s interested in the proposal.

“If we had people, extra officers dedicated to us that we could use for that purpose I think it would be beneficial, said Calder, who is also the head of the Halifax Regional Police Integrated Transportation Unit.

Funding for the additional units could come from the extra tickets officers would be handing out, said Collins. He said he hopes to present his idea to the Police Commission at its next meeting on Dec. 8.


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