UMass Amherst Police Stress Traffic and Pedestrian Safety in April

AMHERST, Mass. - During the month of April, University of Massachusetts police will urge drivers and pedestrians to obey speed limits and crosswalk regulations on campus, and will ticket drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians. Officers are also planning increased patrols to prevent speeding and drunk driving.

This is the third year that UMass police and the Hampshire County Safe Roads Program are working together on campus traffic safety issues, according to Barbara O''Connor, deputy police chief. O''Connor says two pieces of equipment are on loan to UMass police from the safe roads program to help in the safety campaign. An electronic roadside speed board showing drivers how fast they are traveling will be used at various locations around the campus. Officers will also use a hand-held preliminary breath test (PBT) device designed to measure how much alcohol a person has consumed.

Throughout April, UMass police officers will distribute flyers with crosswalk safety tips to pedestrians and drivers, and will issue citations to drivers who violate the state''s crosswalk laws, O''Connor says. In Massachusetts, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a marked crosswalk in their immediate path of travel. The fine for violating this law is $100.

"We want to educate people and increase their awareness of the traffic laws, with particular emphasis on crosswalk safety," O''Connor says.

O''Connor says drivers need to be aware of and observe speed limits on campus roads. The speed limit on main roads is 30 m.p.h and 20 m.p.h. on interior campus roads unless otherwise posted.

Officers will work additional patrol shifts during the evening hours all month long to enforce drunk driving laws, O''Connor says. PBT devices measure blood-alcohol concentrations and are used in conjunction with standard field sobriety tests.