The Riverside Police Department cited 38 drivers for failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, The Press-Enterprise reports. In one two-hour span on Wednesday, March 7, 2012, according to Riverside Police, they caught that number of drivers going through crosswalks in downtown Riverside while pedestrians were in them. Some of the drivers, police said, were putting on makeup or talking on a cell phone, according to the news story.

According to Lt. Chris Manning, the Riverside Police Department put the operation in place to make crossing the street safer for pedestrians. The number of drivers who entered crosswalks with pedestrians in them in a short amount of time indicates a problem, Lt. Manning said, as The Press-Enterprise reports.

Officers in plainclothes conducted the operation on Market Street, crossing in places where the sightlines were good. They also gave drivers time to stop, Lt. Manning said. After violations occurred, officers on motorcycles pursued the drivers who failed to yield.

So that there would not be protests, Lt. Manning said in The Press-Enterprise’s story, drivers did not receive citations on Wednesday if the person walking in the crosswalk had already passed the middle of the street. The law, however, requires motorists to remain stopped until a person walking in the crosswalk has fully crossed and left the crosswalk. Officers have some discretion, Lt. Manning said, in deciding whether to issue a ticket.

According to Lt. Manning, some drivers who were talking on hands-free telephones on Wednesday were too distracted—even though they were using devices that allowed their hands to remain on the wheel—to notice a person walking in the crosswalk. The news story says one driver left skid marks on the road because he had to brake at the last moment.

Every couple of months, the Riverside Police Department puts these pedestrian operations in place, in the hope that drivers will pay more attention to their driving. Lt. Manning hopes in the future, police won’t have to write any tickets for failing to yield to pedestrians.

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