Hillsborough County Law Enforcement working to reduce pedestrian - WFLA News Channel 8

Hillsborough County Law Enforcement working to reduce pedestrian deaths

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

When it comes to pedestrians, Florida is not the friendliest state in the country.  Pedestrian deaths are nearly double the national average here in the sunshine state.  But thanks to a grant from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Hillsborough County law enforcement agents hope to change that.

"The money is going directly for enforcement," said Tampa Police Sgt. Carl Guiere. "Specifically on operations to enforce pedestrian violations."

Both the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office will receive $100,000 to patrol for violations.

Officers held one such operation Wednesday afternoon outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse. Police on motorcycles pulled over drivers who violated pedestrian right of way. They also stopped walkers who violated the law.

Sgt. Guiere stressed the importance of pedestrians staying in the crosswalk, and obeying signals. He said most deaths occur when people don't use crosswalks.

"We're trying to change the behaviors of people. We want them to use the crosswalk," he said. "Rather than running out into traffic and taking their chances."

Not all of the people stopped received citations, but a ticket for crossing outside the crosswalk costs $53.

This is the third year officers have conducted pedestrian safety operations. TPD says the effort appears to be working. There were 17 deaths in Tampa in 2010. That number has gone down every year since. So far, there has only been one pedestrian fatality in Tampa this year.

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