Implemeting Enforcement Campaigns

Case Studies and Research

For more information about conducting enforcement campaigns, check out our enforcement Case Studies and Resources.

Enforcement campaigns start with identifying unsafe behaviors of drivers and pedestrians/bicyclists. Then, appropriate strategies for improving these behaviors can be selected. There are many ways to identify unsafe behaviors; an observation of driver and pedestrian/bicyclist activity is a good way to begin. Speed measurements and examination of recent crash reports provide additional information. Look for the common unsafe behaviors listed below when observing traffic.

Identify Unsafe Behaviors

  • Unsafe Motorist Behaviors
    • Unsafe motorist behaviors may include the following:
    • • Speeding through residential streets and school zones (speed is directly related to crash frequency and severity).
      • Failing to yield to pedestrians, especially in crosswalks (the law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks — it's a law that is often ignored).
      • Running red lights or STOP signs.
      • Turning right or left at intersections without yielding to pedestrians.
      • Exiting or entering driveways or alleys without yielding to pedestrians.
      • Passing stopped cars (especially ones stopped at crosswalks) and school buses.
      • Parking or stopping in crosswalks.
      • Driving while distracted (e.g., by cell phones, radios, other people, eating food, etc.).
      • Driving while intoxicated.
    • Some drivers don't think about the risks they create. A driver may not think going 10 mph over the speed limit will be noticeably less safe, but just a 10 mph difference in speed can be critical to whether motorist can stop to avoid a pedestrian, or whether a pedestrian lives or dies when struck by a car. This is especially true for children and older pedestrians. At 20 mph, a pedestrian has about a 5 percent chance of dying if he is hit by a car. At 30 mph, the chance of dying increases to roughly 45 percent. If a pedestrian is hit by a motor vehicle traveling 40 mph, the risk of dying increases to 85 percent.
  • Unsafe Pedestrian Behaviors
    • A critical component of enforcement activities is ensuring that pedestrians know and follow the safety rules. Some unsafe pedestrian behaviors include:
    • • Crossing a street at an undesirable location.
      • Not looking left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
      • Darting out between parked cars into the path of oncoming cars.
      • Wearing dark clothes when there is poor lighting.
      • Not following the directions of traffic signals or crossing guards.
      • Entering a stream of traffic and disrupting the flow.
      • Walking while intoxicated, wearing headphones, or while talking on a cell phone.
  • Unsafe Bicyclist Behaviors
    • Bicycle riders sometimes contribute to their being involved in a crash. Some dangerous bicyclist behaviors include:
    • • Riding at night without lights or required reflectors and not wearing visible clothing.
      • Riding in the wrong direction, against the flow of traffic—even if they ride on the sidewalk, traveling counter to the traffic lane on the adjacent street might result in them surprising a motorist who is often looking only for slow moving pedestrians and searching for cars.
      • Riding through stop signs and red lights—sometimes they may be dealing with a signal that won't detect a bicycle, or a stop sign placed at the bottom of a long hill that the cyclist would just as soon attack without losing momentum they've built up. Regardless, the sudden appearance of the bicyclist can surprise motorists.
      • Making sudden or unpredictable turns or failing to signal.
      • Not yielding the right-of-way when required, such as at midblock locations, when turning right or left, or when entering a crosswalk.
    • Many of these issues will require education and engineering action to help teach bicyclists safe practices and ensure that the roadway safely accommodates them, but enforcement also has its place.