‘Stop for Me’ program

To the editor:

Every year there are almost 6,000 pedestrians killed annually in crashes across the nation. Another 129,000 pedestrians are admitted to emergency rooms for non-fatal injuries. For 2018, two pedestrians were killed and several more were seriously injured in pedestrian versus motor vehicle crashes in New Ulm.

The New Ulm Police Department is partnering with the Heart of New Ulm Project, Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Brown County Family Services, Minnesota State Patrol and the Office of Traffic Safety to reduce pedestrian related crashes. The Stop for Me campaign is focusing on increasing public awareness, education and enforcement.

According to Minnesota State Statute 169.21, where traffic-control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk.

The driver must remain stopped until the pedestrian has passed the lane in which the vehicle is stopped. No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. When any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.

It is unlawful for any person to drive a motor vehicle through a column of school children crossing a street or highway or past a member of a school safety patrol or adult crossing guard, while the member of the school safety patrol or adult crossing guard is directing the movement of children across a street or highway and while the school safety patrol member or adult crossing guard is holding an official sign in the stop position. A peace officer may arrest the driver of a motor vehicle if the peace officer has probable cause to believe that the driver operated the vehicle in violation of this paragraph within the past four hours.

A person who violates this subdivision is guilty of a misdemeanor. A person who violates this subdivision a second or subsequent time within one year of a previous conviction under this subdivision is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

Many drivers don’t believe they need to stop for a pedestrian at an unmarked intersection. The statute clearly states otherwise. The Stop for Me campaign is not only focused towards the motoring public, but also pedestrians. Pedestrians should always wear bright colored clothing, in addition to reflective material. A flashlight should always be used while walking at night. Take extra caution while walking at times of the day while the sun is rising or setting. Pedestrians should always make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you and are stopping.

The New Ulm Police Department along with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office and Minnesota State Patrol will be conducting increased enforcement regarding pedestrian safety. Please be aware of pedestrians attempting to cross intersections and yield safely to them. Our goal is to have zero pedestrians injured or killed on our roadways.

Chris Davis

New Ulm Police Department

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