SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Grant funding continues to help Springfield Police Department officers crack down on drivers not yielding to pedestrians.
Wednesday morning, officers stationed themselves at a crosswalk near Sunset St. and Grant Ave. to monitor how people are complying with the law.
One officer in plain clothing acts as a pedestrian, a second functions as a spotter and a third is in a patrol vehicle, ready to stop those who do not properly yield to the pedestrian.
Officials observed the majority of drivers not yielding to pedestrians, which led to them getting pulled over.
Those who are stopped by officers were provided a warning and educational materials.
However, that warning should soon be switching to a citation.
“Here on Sunset St., which is a busier street, but does have a trail crossing, so many families are crossing here,” said Springfield Traffic Safety Specialist Mandy Buettgen-Quinn. “We’re, unfortunately, seeing poor compliance. Some drivers are distracted. Oftentimes, people are just not aware that they are supposed to yield for pedestrians at crosswalks.”
The yield checks, administered by Springfield Public Works, are aimed at cutting down on pedestrian crashes.
Springfield police report the number of fatal pedestrian crashes over the past few years.
Numbers show there were six in 2020, five in 2021 and nine in 2022.
“One life lost is one too many,” said Buettgen-Quinn.
For one woman, who is visually impaired, she is advocating for pedestrian safety.
“I have personally been cut off by cars crossing everything from Cherry to Division,” said Carolyn McGhee.
McGhee said she uses a cane to help find her way around.
She knows the dangers of what can happen.
“My vision impaired boyfriend, he has been hit six times crossing streets in Springfield,” she said. “That’s six times too many.”Her hope is that drivers start to pay more attention, especially to help people with disabilities.