Friday, September 15, 2017

New campaign about pedestrian safety on Caltrans changeable message signs

You may have noticed a new message that caught your attention while driving on a freeway or highway last week.

The new message on Caltrans' changeable message signs (CMS) first appeared Sept. 7 and reads, "Watch for people walking on all roadways."

According to Wayne Ziese with the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the message is part of a public information campaign addressing pedestrian safety on our state's roadways.

"The traffic safety messaging in the CMS is run jointly by OTS, CHP (California Highway Patrol) and Caltrans with help from the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and the State Transportation Agency," OTS spokesperson Wayne Ziese said.

New message on Caltrans changeable message sign raises awareness about pedestrian safety on roadways.

While OTS is the lead agency for safety campaign messages, Caltrans and CHP work together to develop the messages like the ones many drivers across the state saw last week.

September is also California Pedestrian Safety Month, thanks to a resolution passed by the state senate last year. The designation is intended to raise awareness about the increasing numbers of pedestrians killed and injured on roadways through a series of messages for drivers and pedestrians to be alert and share the road responsibly.

Numbers compiled by OTS show that pedestrian deaths are on the rise. In 2015, 813 pedestrians were killed on California roadways, with pedestrians accounting for nearly 25 percent of all roadway deaths. In 2005, pedestrians accounted for just 17 percent of all roadway deaths.

This particular safety message campaign ended on Sunday, but Caltrans, CHP and OTS will continually discuss whether the same type of messaging will be used next year on Caltrans' 800 CMS across the state, 70 of which are in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Caltrans and our partnering agencies have similar safety campaigns (think "Slow For the Cone Zone" and "Be Work Zone Alert") that are used on CMS and other signage throughout the year.

OTS uses Caltrans CMS for other safety campaigns like wearing seat belts ("Click It or Ticket"), DUI crackdowns ("DUI Doesn't Just Mean Booze") and distracted driving. The campaigns are done over four-day periods.

Safety campaigns from Caltrans and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about slowing down in work zones and moving over for emergency vehicles.

So the next time you get behind the wheel, be mindful of Caltrans working to make our drive safer, move over for emergency crews, wear your seat belt and put down the phone.