Pedestrian crossings in the downtown business districts of White Salmon and Bingen will be getting special attention from the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department.
Sgt. Jim Andring said there will soon be a new campaign by officers to focus on crosswalk safety. Andring explained that drivers are "failing to take due care and caution around pedestrian crossings."
As a result, the downtown crosswalks will be closely monitored by the Police Department. Included in the new enforcement campaign will be the crosswalks near Whitson Elementary School. Crossing guards on duty at the school have reported several near-misses between cars and kids during this school year.
Andring, who has been monitoring the school zones in recent weeks, said the inattention by drivers needs to stop.
"The crossing guards are doing a great job," Andring said. "The problem is with the drivers, who are not paying attention."
Andring pointed out that drivers are required to stop until the crossing guard removes the stop sign and leaves the roadway. Drivers who fail to follow the directions of a school crossing guard can be hit with fines of up to $216.
Andring added that state law treats all intersections as legal crosswalks, whether they are marked or not. Failure to stop for a person in a crosswalk is an infraction that could bring a $124 fine.
The Police Department is now ready to get tough on violators, Andring said, so motorists not following the rules should not expect to get off with a warning.
"Due to a short staff and the exceptional danger to pedestrians, officers need to make the most of their time in monitoring school zones and crosswalks," he said. "Therefore, violators will not likely receive verbal warnings for these violations."
Andring also urged the public to report those violating the crosswalk laws by taking down license plate numbers and a vehicle description and forwarding it to the Police Department.
The Bingen-White Salmon Police Department can be contacted at 493-1177.