Since 2009, the Seattle Police Department has issued a little more than half the jaywalking tickets they had previously—and not because Seattleites are obeying laws more strictly. A recent report has shown that there is a direct correlation between low level offenses such as jaywalking and excessive force. Oftentimes these incidents would escalate quickly, and a dangerous situation for officer and citizen would be created. Therefore, the SPD has changed their attitude towards jaywalking. Instead, more dangerous traffic infractions are being focused on, like failing to yield and speeding. The main concern for police is finding the best ways to keep the community safe.
Obviously, this law exists for a reason. As a Seattle personal injury attorney, I know how dangerous pedestrian crashes can be. It’s important as a pedestrian to take charge of your own safety. Following posed traffic signals is a good start, but you should never trust them blindly. Even worse, you should not trust that a driver is giving their full attention to the road and will stop even if they are showing no signs of doing so. It could be that this change is a good thing for the Seattle Police Department and for the community, but hopefully it does not allow people to forget just how dangerous crossing the street could prove to be. Be just as alert as a pedestrian as you hopefully are when behind the wheel of car, and you will probably avoid a tragic incident.