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Law enforcement agencies in Detroit, Warren and Kalamazoo will crack down on speeding, illegal turns, failing to stop at a crosswalk and other violations in an effort to curb rising pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

The three cities have been identified by the state's Office of Highway Safety Planning as having some of the highest number of pedestrian crashes over five years. Between 2013-17, Detroit had 2,330 pedestrian crahes, Kalamazoo had 264 and Warren had 193, according to a news release by the Michigan State Police.

Starting Sunday through March 16, officers will look for driving violations such as speeding, illegal turns, failing to stop at a signal or stop sign before a crosswalk, failing to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk at an intersection with a signal, and blocking a roadway that interferes with the flow of traffic. 

Officers also will be looking for pedestrians not following traffic-control signals, not walking on a sidewalk where provided, not walking facing traffic when on a roadway and failing to yield to drivers with the right-of-way.

“State, regional, and local organizations are working hard to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries in Michigan, but there is still a lot more we can do,” said Michael Prince, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning director. “This enforcement period aims to educate community members about the importance of pedestrian safety and the traffic laws designed to protect them.”

The enforcement campaign is supported with federal traffic safety funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The monitoring follows recent reports on pedestrian safety.

One, Dangerous by Design 2019, ranked the region including Detroit, Warren and Dearborn 18th among the top 20 most dangerous metropolitan areas for walking. Michigan placed 19th in its top 20 most dangerous states.

The study was led by the advocacy group Smart Growth America and its National Complete Streets Coalition. The authors analyzed national fatal traffic crash data and compiled rankings based on a “pedestrian danger index” that incorporated numbers of deaths, population and the share of people who walk to work.

The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads in 2018 was the highest in 28 years, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. The group estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed last year. That’s up 4 percent from 2017 and 35 percent since 2008.

The association blames the increase on factors that include distracted or impaired drivers, more people walking to work, and more SUVs on the road, which cause more severe injuries in collisions with people on foot.

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