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Police Plan Awareness Campaign After Series Of Accidents

DENVER (CBS4) - Police in Denver are planning an awareness campaign after a string of people getting hit by cars, including some fatal hit-and-runs.

If you take a look around the streets of Denver you'll find plenty of distracted drivers as well as distracted pedestrians.

A CBS4 crew did when working on this story on Monday, from texting and driving to driving and eating to pedestrians walking right through traffic. Some people even were wearing headphones while crossing busy intersections, with phones in hand.

Police say the crashes that have been happening are not always the driver's fault. Officers say they see pedestrians not paying attention and walking when they shouldn't through crosswalks.

It's easy to do -- glance down at your phone, write a quick text. But with the rate of speed that a car travels you don't have the kind of reaction time you need.

"People are texting quit a bit. You have to be careful," one walker told CBS4 along Broadway on Monday.

"It's scary, very scary," another said.

Denver police spokesman Lt. Robert Rock says his traffic division has investigated 29 serious bodily injury
cases with auto and pedestrians to date this year. Last year they had only 21 cases.

Lt. Robert Rock
CBS4's Jennifer Brice, right, interviews Lt. Robert Rock (credit: CBS)

"Everyone is connected all the time," Rock said. "To our phones. It's both pedestrians and drivers."

Police say fatal hit-and-run trends tend to be cyclical, and right now we're on an upswing. In 2010 there were five fatal hit and run deaths. There were seven in 2011 and 13 cases in 2012.

This year the fatal incidents are on track progressing with last years numbers.

"We think that educating the walking public is probably our best bet," Rock said.

Which is why an awareness campaign will soon focus on pedestrian safety.

"Pedestrians can help drivers by paying attention to who may not be paying attention to them," Rock said.

Rock said police will launch their pedestrian safety and awareness campaign this June, around the same time as Bike Safety Week.

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