GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A new billboard campaign is popping up along Grand Rapids roadways and targets anyone behind the wheel within city limits. The billboards promote an ordinance that went into effect in February which requires drivers to stop for people who are waiting to cross the street at a crosswalk.
Failing to obey the law could result in a $135, or $170 in a school/work zone.
“Through our research, we have found that Grand Rapids has a higher than average number of pedestrian crashes with vehicles," noted Chris Zull, Grand Rapids traffic safety manager, "and so we’re making zero the right number.”
He said the ordinance goes beyond calling on motorists to obey traffic signals.
“There are a lot of other intersections around town that are not controlled by traffic signals which sometimes you see the parallel bars, sometimes you’ll see the continental crosswalks -- looks like a ladder -- and sometimes there’s crossings with no markings at all," Zull explained.
"All of those are still legal crossings," he added, "so that as a pedestrian if you step out into any one of those crossings, the vehicles are now supposed to stop for you so you can safely make it across the street."
Zull said everyone must do their part by taking responsibility and using good judgement.
He said it's important for pedestrians to make “eye contact with drivers, crossing streets in predictable locations, making sure that you’re visible." Zull added that both drivers and pedestrians need to eliminate distractions.
"We need to make sure that we’re driving with our heads up," he said.