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SACRAMENTO October 19, 2021 – Safety is always Caltrans’ top priority, and with the annual National Pedestrian Safety Month taking place in October, the department is stepping up its efforts to enhance safety and educate the public on how to keep pedestrians safe. 

“Pedestrians lose their lives on California’s roads every day, and the problem is getting worse,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin notes. “Fortunately, there’s a simple remedy: pay attention and slow down, whether walking, pedaling, or driving.”  

Pedestrian deaths have steadily increased nationally over the last decade, up more than 40 percent since 2010. In California, pedestrians account for nearly a quarter of all fatalities on public roads, significantly higher than the national average. 

Caltrans is working to enhance pedestrian safety on the state highway system by investigating high-risk locations to determine the best safety improvements. Such improvements include: 

  • Signal timing enhancement and extended pedestrian crossing times. 
  • Intersection and roadway design changes, such as sidewalks, curb extensions, and roundabouts or raised intersections that provide enhanced pedestrian safety in high traffic locations. 
  • New pedestrian signs and markings, including high-visibility crosswalks, advanced stop and yield markings, or “yield to pedestrian” signs. 

Caltrans has already implemented these safety measures at several locations and is working to identify further safety improvements. 

Caltrans is also using National Pedestrian Safety Month to highlight easy-to-follow tips for both motorists and pedestrians to “Think Two Steps Ahead” and look out for one another. 

Pedestrian Safety Tips for Drivers: 

  • Follow the speed limit. Slow down on busy streets and at intersections. 
  • Avoid distractions like cell phones, in-dash touchscreens and other actions that take your eyes or mind off the road. 
  • Be extra careful when approaching crosswalks. 
  • Be prepared to stop for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks. 
  • Avoid blocking crosswalks when waiting to make a right-hand turn. 
  • Turn headlights on and slow down at night when it’s more difficult to see pedestrians. 
  • Never drive impaired. 

Tips for pedestrians: 

  • Stay off the phone when crossing the street. 
  • Be predictable. Use crosswalks. 
  • Take notice of approaching vehicles and practice due care. 
  • Make eye contact and give a quick nod or wave to let drivers know that you see them and help confirm that they see you before crossing. 
  • Be especially careful crossing streets and entering crosswalks at night when it is harder for drivers to see you. 
  • Walk with a flashlight and wear a reflective vest at night to make it easier for drivers to see you. 

For more information, visit Caltrans Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety pages and the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) website for more pedestrian safety tips.