INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Nevada Highway Patrol troopers were pulling motorists over throughout Friday morning and into the afternoon near the pedestrian crosswalk where a local married couple was killed two weeks ago trying to cross Highway 28.
As many as six to 10 troopers on motorcycles sat parked on either side of the highway near Radio Shack and U.S. Bank, while a decoy trooper walked back and forth along the crosswalk.
The decoy — NHP Trooper Kim Vine — would then signal to troopers waiting on the motorcycles whether or not a motorist had violated Nevada law regarding pedestrian crosswalks.
“We're out here educating the public about pedestrian laws within the crosswalk,” Vine said during a short break before crossing again. “People need to understand (pedestrians) have the right-of-way, and (drivers) need to stop.”
In a span of 10 minutes, three drivers were pulled over, although it's unclear if they were issued a citation or just warned.
Last Thursday, Jan. 5, the highway patrol announced plans to increase enforcement efforts on pedestrian and crosswalk violations over the next several weeks.
The decision, according to NHP, was made in response to recent accidents involving pedestrians who have been struck and killed in the region.
This includes the Friday, Dec. 30, incident that claimed the lives of Robert C. Mathis and Linda Mathis, both 46, of Incline Village, who were attempting to cross the highway at night, according to NHP, at or very near the same crosswalk involved in Friday's sting operation.
The decision also was made due to recent NHP statistics indicating pedestrian-related crashes in Douglas, Lyon and Washoe counties were higher in 2011 as opposed to the previous year.
Incline Village resident and Realtor Tom Bruno was standing near the crosswalk late Friday morning, talking with Vine about the sting.
“It's overkill. I hate to use the word, but that's what it is,” he told the Bonanza moments later, adding that he feels the sting is an over-saturation of patrols for one small stretch of Nevada highway.
Nevada law mandates drivers must stop when a pedestrian is standing or approaching a crosswalk on their side of the road, Vine said. Opposing traffic does not have to stop in that situation; however, as soon as a pedestrian steps foot in the crosswalk to begin crossing the street, opposing traffic must also stop.
The warning signs leading up to the actual crosswalk are situated 183 feet away, per Nevada law, Vine said. In the above scenarios, drivers must begin stopping at that 183-foot mark.
Moments after Vine explained the rule, a local couple approached the crosswalk from the U.S. Bank side. Three cars didn't stop; as the couple eventually crossed, Vine signaled to the motorcycle troopers parked feet away, and two of them sped off to pull over two of the violators.
“They're still not stopping. Nobody's paying attention,” Vine said.
• Be certain to only cross a street or highway in a marked crosswalk.
• Make sure that each driver approaching the intersection is yielding or has stopped for you before entering the street or crossing the entire roadway — especially on multiple-lane roadways.
• Even when you have the signal to cross safely, scan both directions of travel and look for moving or approaching vehicles.
• Don't assume that every driver will see you in a crosswalk and be aware of all approaching traffic.
• Be extra careful when crossing the road at nighttime and especially when there is little or no lighting.
• Pay attention at all times when operating a motor vehicle with special emphasis near intersections and marked crosswalks for pedestrians who may be crossing the roadway.
• If you notice a vehicle in the adjacent or opposing lane slow down or stop, ask yourself why? There may be a pedestrian crossing the street that you don't see or another type of roadway hazard not immediately visible.
• When making a left or right turn at an intersection, always check to be certain that no one is attempting to cross the road adjacent to you.
• Do not change lanes near an intersection where a motorist immediately in front of you is slowing down or stopped.
Also, here is a link to the Nevada Department of Transportation website dealing specifically with pedestrian and vehicle law: