Evanston police say they issued nearly 500 citations to drivers in just over three weeks last month as part of a pedestrial safety initiative approved by the City Council
While the crackdown was designed to target motorists who fail to yield for pedestrians in crosswalks, officers found most drivers were yielding — but many of them were driving distracted — talking or texting on their cell phones.
That was reflected in count of citations issued — 217 for talking or texting on a cell phone compared to just 12 for crosswalk violations.
Officers spent 217 hours monitoring 10 crosswalks that draw the most complaints from citizens and 44 others the officers identified as needing attention.
Other citations they issued included 123 for failure to wear a seat belt, 30 for speeding, 41 for lack of insurance, nine for not having a valid drivers license,one for driving under the influence and 49 for various other offenses.
Officers say they also noted several situations in which pedestrians entered crosswalks without first checking for oncoming traffic, or were talking on their cell phone, crossing in the middle of the street, or crossing at a signalized crossing against a “Don’t Walk” light.