WEST VALLEY CITY — Police want both motorists and pedestrians to start being more alert around crosswalks.
On the eve of a new school year, police departments across the valley are planning crosswalk enforcement efforts to get drivers tuned in to who is crossing the street. Likewise, police say pedestrians, particularly schoolchildren, need to also be aware of their surroundings and not assume that all vehicles will automatically see them.
On Tuesday, West Valley City held a crosswalk operation at 4100 S. 2805 West. Two officers in plainclothes continuously crossed the street to see who would yield to them.
In four hours, 108 violations were recorded, said West Valley police spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku.
"You can tell when someone's paying attention and ones that aren't using their brakes at all to slow down for you. So I've almost been hit several times, but I'm paying attention and that hasn't happened," said West Valley detective Darren Mower, who was one of the undercover officers crossing the street.
In one case, Vainuku said all lanes of traffic had stopped for the officers. But one impatient driver used the turning lane to go around the stopped cars and then flipped off the undercover officer as he drove by. That man was quickly pulled over by West Valley motorcycle officers waiting nearby.
Police are encouraging drivers to slow down and watch what they're doing around crosswalks, and for pedestrians to watch what the cars are doing.
In 2016, 1,006 pedestrians were hit by vehicles in Utah, according to the Department of Public Safety.
Contributing: Caitlin Burchill