FAMUPD beefs up cross-walk safety

Pedestrians on Florida A&M University’s campus deal with risks students cannot ignore.
After two recent car accidents involving drivers and pedestrians, new precautions to ensure the safety of both parties on campus are being put into place.

The FAMU police department has been revising the details of both accidents, and brainstorming new ways to keep students safe.

“Right now we [FAMUPD] have been looking for an alternate plan that closes off the road that will force people to use the cross walk,” said Lieutenant Norman Rollins of the FAMU police department.

Most students cross the busy Wahnish Way, which separates the main campus from the Student Services Center, and do not pay attention to the cars, nor the crosswalk.

“I usually cross and expect the drivers to slow down or stop,” said Sophia Goldson, 20, a sophomore psychology student from Ft. Lauderdale.

“I didn’t even realize we had an official crosswalk.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Florida was third in 2006 in the nation with pedestrian fatalities.

From 2001 to 2007, Florida was either number one or in the top three in bicycle and pedestrian fatalities while no other states showed the same consistency in the top three.

According to Lieutenant Rollins, FAMU police department’s priority is to ensure that FAMU students do not become victims to these alarming statistics.

Both students and drivers express frustration and caution when discussing the driving and walking situation.

“I hesitate before I walk across the street,” said Ja’Liz Bowden a junior physical therapy student from Tampa. “When I see someone else go I go afterward, because if the driver stops for them I know I’m safe.”

On average, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every 113 minutes and injured in
a traffic crash every 8 minutes, according to NHTSA.

Most pedestrian fatalities in 2007 occurred in urban areas, at non-intersection locations, in normal weather conditions, and at night.

Yomi Akintola a junior pre-med/ biology student from Tampa heard about the accident, but does not think more precautions are necessary, she just advised everyone to drive slower.

“Be patient, the best thing to do is slow your speed,” said Akintola.

Akintola, who has seen many cars speeding all throughout FAMU’s campus, also had some suggestions for the FAMU police department.

“Maybe they should set up more speed traps in this area [Wahnish Way] to prevent something like that happening in the future.”

The best advice FAMUPD has for both pedestrians and drivers is to be aware of your surroundings, and to use the crosswalk.

“There have been 2 accidents that have occurred in less than a month,” said Lieutenant Rollins.

“Right now the only thing we can do is to advise people.”