University Police Services and Local Law Enforcement Partner to Promote Crosswalk Safety
On March 31st, Las Vegas law enforcement agencies came together to raise awareness for crosswalk safety through the Don't Be a Fool About Crosswalk Safety campaign. One officer in particular, Keith Habig, who is also known as the Crosswalk Jester, was dressed up in a neon yellow bodysuit, red tutu, and multicolored jester’s hat, stationed at the University Avenue crosswalk on Maryland Parkway. The crosswalk is located in a 30mph zone with flashing lights to alert drivers when pedestrians are crossing. The goal was to catch traffic violators who failed to stop for pedestrians or were speeding.
The initiative was led by the director of the Road Equity Alliance Project (REAP) at UNLV, Erin Breen, and included officers from several Las Vegas valley agencies such as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Clark County School District Police Department, North Las Vegas Police Department, and the Henderson Police Department. The collaborative effort helped to enforce crosswalk safety around the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s campus and bring awareness to road safety in the area.
During the campaign, Habig helped pedestrians across the crosswalk and demonstrated appropriate pedestrian safety. However, there were many drivers who failed to adhere to the law and yield to those in the crosswalk. There were a total of 115 vehicle stops with 118 citations issued. Most of the citations issued included failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians in the crosswalk and speeding with the highest cited speed at 55 mph.
Clark County School District Police Officer Keith Habig helps conduct these campaigns several time a year to remind drivers of safe traffic practices. In the past, he has dressed up as a Leprechaun in March, a Turkey in November, Santa Claus in December, and other characters like a bumble bee and a fairy. Habig explained, “When people wear dark clothing, they blend into the pavement and they're very hard to see. So if I can look goofy, loud, and extravagant, then that will raise as much awareness.”
The police urge drivers to pay attention at all times and watch speed limits to reduce traffic deaths and injuries. In Clark County alone, 19 pedestrians have been killed this year, and the police attribute those deaths to speeding and impairment. Law enforcement agencies want to remind the public that in addition to vehicles, pedestrians must also comply with the rules of the road, specifically when walking within the marked crosswalk. Under Nevada law, pedestrians have the right of way as long as they obey traffic signals.
University Police Services Vice President and Director Adam Garcia hopes this operation serves as a reminder for both drivers and pedestrians to use roadways safely through the campus community. The Don't Be a Fool About Crosswalk Safety campaign shows that road safety is no joke, and it takes a collaborative effort from both law enforcement and the public to reduce traffic deaths and injuries.