Pedestrian Safety is the focus of the Austin Police Department’s new program, the Pedestrian Safety Initiative. The department has established a Pedestrian Enforcement Safety Team, or P.E.S.T., which is populated by officers from their Highway Enforcement Command.
KVUE.com reports that the program was launched today on Barton Springs Road, but will move around the city at six different locations. Officers watched for motorists who did not yield the right of way to pedestrians and pedestrians who crossed in the middle of the road or did not obey crosswalk signals. Warnings and tickets with a price tag of up to $200 were issued.
The program is not designed to be a temporary crack down, but an ongoing operation with the goal of changing the culture. Last year 22 pedestrians and cyclists lost their lives to traffic accidents and already in 2012, there have been eight deaths. APD hopes their P.E.S.T. program will prevent further deaths and encourage pedestrians and motorists to share the roads safely.