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Police department begins enforcement operations to curb collisions
TPD crime scene pic2
Turlock has seen more than its fair share of fatal or injury accidents, especially those involving pedestrians. Over the last three years there have been 12 fatal collisions in the city, according to the police department - photo by Journal file photo

The Turlock Police Department will be conducting a special traffic enforcement today around town in an ongoing effort to drive down the number of fatal collisions, especially those involving pedestrians.

The enforcement operation has taken into account several factors that have contributed to serious and fatal collisions and will be targeting drivers and pedestrians that engage in some of these bad practices. The operations also will focus on some of the areas around town that have been the sites of more collisions.

“Officers will be looking for traffic offenses made by drivers and pedestrians alike that can lead to life changing injuries,” said Turlock Police spokesperson Officer Steve Rodrigues.

Turlock has seen more than its fair share of fatal or injury accidents, especially those involving pedestrians. Over the last three years there have been 12 fatal collisions in the city, according to the police department. Most recently, 20-year-old Benjamin Hudspeth died on Nov. 3, while crossing Monte Vista Avenue and 18-year-old Glenn Cooper died on Nov. 4 while crossing at Golden State Boulevard and Fulkerth Road.

The California Office of Traffic Safety examined traffic reports from 2013 for 103 like-sized cities and ranked them according to the rates of occurrences. Turlock was ranked 31st for collisions that resulted in fatalities or injuries, with 365 traffic collisions. For collision involving pedestrians Turlock was 44th with 22 collisions. Turlock was 40th for collisions involving bicyclists with 28 collisions, and 42nd in collisions involving motorcycles, with 12 collisions. 

In 2015, there were 847 accidents in Turlock, an increase of 2 percent from 2014. The number of non-injury accidents was at 571, an increase of 6 percent from the year prior. There were 276 injury accidents in 2015, which is a 2 percent decrease from 2014. In 2015, Turlock saw two fatalities from traffic collisions, which is a 75 percent decrease from the year prior. 

In 2013, California witnessed 701 pedestrian deaths accounting for over 23 percent of all roadway fatalities, much higher than the national average of 15 percent. 

The department has mapped out locations over the past three years where pedestrian involved collisions have occurred along with the violations that led to those crashes. The enforcement will be directed in several areas of the city including Geer Road at 20th Century Boulevard and Lander Avenue at Bernell Avenue. 

Special attention will be directed toward drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in cross walks or any other dangerous violation. Additionally, enforcement will be taken for observed violations when pedestrians cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way. Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or intersections.

On March 1, the Turlock City Council adopted a multi-pronged Collision Reduction Strategy with a focus on reducing collisions that involved motorist and non-motorized users such as pedestrians and bicyclists. The strategy involves a partnership between the Turlock Police Department and the City of Turlock’s Engineering Department. The two agencies put a focus on education and awareness in the first stages, which included traffic safety workshops with community members to discuss general safety practices, problem areas, and possible solutions.

The enforcement portion of the strategy got a boost when the police department received a $110,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

The police department advises drivers and pedestrians to follow these safety tips to avoid being involved in a collision.

Drivers can:
- Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk where pedestrians are likely to be.
- Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians too. 
- Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path. 

Pedestrians can:
- Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey signs and signals.
- Walk facing traffic and stay as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
- Pay attention to the traffic moving around you. This is not the time to be texting or talking on a cell phone.
- Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
- Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.
- Look left-right-left before crossing a street.