Police in Clearwater set to crack down on jaywalking - WFLA News Channel 8

Police in Clearwater set to crack down on jaywalking

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By Peter Bernard

Admit it. You've crossed a busy road without using a nearby crosswalk. You know it's dangerous, but it saved time.

That kind of thinking is exactly what Clearwater police want to stamp out. The department has started a special enforcement effort to catch jaywalkers and drivers who fail to yield to people at crosswalks. Busy highways with historically high pedestrian traffic death rates are being targeted.

Officer Bryan Karnes said he's seen the tragic results when a car and jaywalker cross paths.

"When a 2,000-pound car hits a 150-pound person, the person's gonna lose every single time, and sometimes it can be very, very bad" Karnes said.

Watching the Gulf to Bay area near a busy Publix on Thursday night, it didn't take long for Karnes and other members of the enforcement team to see people ignoring the nearby crosswalk, and instead cross mid-block across four lanes of busy traffic.

Bob Cassato was one of those spotted crossing illegally. When asked why he did it, he said he didn't have time, but amended that.

"I did actually have time but I didn't take the time," he said.

Karnes said a lot of people think they can cross mid-block safely, but he offers a warning.

"Nine times you'll just be absolutely fine. The 10th time you get hit by a car. There's no going back," he said.

For the next few weeks, jaywalkers will receive warnings. But in September, citations will be issued, which will cost violators $62.50. Drivers will be ticketed with a moving violation and be fined $166.

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