National School Bus Safety Week

2015105624f033e4676This week (October 16-20) is National School Bus Safety Week and the WFPD would like to remind you of the following safety tips:

If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the lights start flashing.

It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

According to Texas statute, a driver – traveling in either direction on a roadway – must stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal.

The driver may not proceed until the school bus resumes motion, the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed or the visual signal is no longer activated.

If a road is divided only by a left-turning lane, drivers on both sides of the roadway must stop for school buses with alternating red flashing lights activated.

However, if the lanes are separated by an intervening space or physical barrier, only motorists traveling in the same direction as the bus are required to stop.

The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus.

Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.

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The WFPD Would Like to Remind Motorists: Stop on Red

Stop on RedThe Wichita Falls Police Department would like to remind motorists the importance of stopping at a red light.

A crash caused by a driver who runs a red light is more likely to result in serious injury or death. Most people run red lights because they are in a hurry, when in fact they only save seconds. Deaths caused by red light running are increasing at more than three times the rate of increase for all other fatal crashes.

According to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety red light runners cause hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries each year. In 2015, 771 people were killed and an estimated 137,000 were injured in crashes that involved red light running. Over half of those killed were pedestrians, bicyclists and people in other vehicles who were hit by the red light runners.

The Texas Department of Transportation reported in 2015 that over 21,000 crashes occurred in the state that were caused by a driver running a red light; 108 of those crashes resulted in the death of an individual.

In 2016 there were 116 crash reports filed with the WFPD where a driver running a red light was a contributing factor, one of which resulted in a fatality.

Remember to always “Stop on Red.”

Share the Road

sharetheroadThe Hotter’n Hell 100 is fast approaching which means the presence of more cyclists on the roadway.  The Wichita Falls Police Department reminds motorists to share the roadway and be aware.  Here are a few safety tips to remember:

  • Bicyclists have the rights and duties of other vehicle operators:(551.101)

Yes, this means you have to stop at stop signs and red lights, but cars are required to yield right-of-way to a bicycle when appropriate, just as to any other vehicle.

  • Ride near the curb and go in the same direction as other traffic: (551.103)

Near the curb is subjective (we recommend leaving a cushion of about three feet) but the law gives a cyclist the right to take the lane when necessary for safety.

  • At least one hand on the handlebars (two are safer): (551.102c)

One when signaling but two when turning works well.

  • Use hand and arm signals: (545.107)

Point the way you are going, let the other operators know what you want to do.

  • One rider per saddle: (551.102a)

Don’t let your friends share your bike while riding unless you’re both on a tandem.

  • You may ride two abreast as long as you don’t impede traffic: (551.103c)

Racing and taking the lane are special cases.

  • Must have a white light on the front and a red reflector or red light on the rear (for riding at night): (551.104b)

The light is primarily so people can see you coming from the side, where their headlights do not shine on your reflectors. The law, effective as of Sept. 2001, states that a red light can replace a red reflector.

  • Brakes capable of making the braked wheel skid: (551.104a)

Don’t test that front brake to see if the wheel will skid while riding, especially downhill.

It’s That Time of Year Again

back_to_schoolChildren in Wichita Falls and surrounding communities will be returning to school in the next few days. We would like to  remind drivers to be extra cautious as school zones become more active and be aware of school buses that will be making frequent stops.

Following these simple tips can help children reach school safely and help drivers avoid costly fines and tickets.

Tips for Driving in School Zones

  • Put away your cell phone and anything else that may be distracting you as you drive.  A distracted driver is a dangerous driver.
  • Always obey school zone speed limit signs. Remember, traffic fines usually double in school zones.
  • Drop off and pick up your children in your school’s designated areas, not the middle of the street.
  • Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops.
  • Be alert for children who might dart across the street or between vehicles on their way to school.

Tips for Children Walking or Biking to School

  • Always cross at intersections and designated crosswalks. Look left, right and then left again before proceeding.
  • Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Always obey crossing guards.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.

WFPD Releases 2017 3rd Quarter TxDOT Comprehensive STEP Grant Stats

636210405772280198-WFPD-STEPThe largest portion of traffic safety funding from TxDOT is used for the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) projects, which pay for overtime activities by local law enforcement to reduce the incidence of speeding, driving while intoxicated, failure to use occupant restraint systems, and intersection traffic control violations. Organizations eligible for STEP funds include the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS), sheriff’s offices, constable’s offices and community police departments.

The Wichita Falls Police Department has finalized the 3rd Quarter FY 2017 (April – June) TxDOT Comprehensive STEP Grant Stats:

Adult Seatbelt Citations – 107
Child Safety Seats – 2
Intersection Violations – 240
Speeding – 566
Other Violations – 196
Arrests – 9
Vehicles Impounded – 13
Hours Worked – 419.8
Miles Driven – 3,531

Share the Road

sharetheroadThe Hotter’n Hell 100 is fast approaching which means the presence of more cyclists on the roadway.  The Wichita Falls Police Department reminds motorists to share the roadway and be aware.  Here are a few safety tips to remember:

  • Bicyclists have the rights and duties of other vehicle operators:(551.101)

Yes, this means you have to stop at stop signs and red lights, but cars are required to yield right-of-way to a bicycle when appropriate, just as to any other vehicle.

  • Ride near the curb and go in the same direction as other traffic: (551.103)

Near the curb is subjective (we recommend leaving a cushion of about three feet) but the law gives a cyclist the right to take the lane when necessary for safety.

  • At least one hand on the handlebars (two are safer): (551.102c)

One when signaling but two when turning works well.

  • Use hand and arm signals: (545.107)

Point the way you are going, let the other operators know what you want to do.

  • One rider per saddle: (551.102a)

Don’t let your friends share your bike while riding unless you’re both on a tandem.

  • You may ride two abreast as long as you don’t impede traffic: (551.103c)

Racing and taking the lane are special cases.

  • Must have a white light on the front and a red reflector or red light on the rear (for riding at night): (551.104b)

The light is primarily so people can see you coming from the side, where their headlights do not shine on your reflectors. The law, effective as of Sept. 2001, states that a red light can replace a red reflector.

  • Brakes capable of making the braked wheel skid: (551.104a)

Don’t test that front brake to see if the wheel will skid while riding, especially downhill.

WFPD 2017 “Click It or Ticket” Stats

CIOT-BannerSeat belts are the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing death and injury, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of crash injuries by 50 percent. They save lives!

The Wichita Falls Police Department has recently wrapped up the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign. Here are the statistics from the enforcement period May 22 – June 4, 2017:

Adult Seatbelts                        287 citations

Child Safety Seat                     10 citations

Intersections                            9 citations

Speeding                                     1 citation

Other Violations                       82 citations

Arrests                                          0

Hours Worked                            186

Miles Driven                               1,416

Why seatbelts are so important:

Whether you’re the driver, front seat passenger, or back seat passenger, you have to buckle up. It’s a state law and not doing so could cost you up to $200. Want an even better reason? Your seat belt is your number one best defense in case of a crash.

A DEADLY OVERSIGHT.

If you forget to buckle up or choose not to, you’re putting yourself in harm’s way. It’s common that unbuckled passengers get thrown from their vehicle, which all too often rolls over and crushes them.

BACK SEAT DANGER.

Unbelted back seat passengers can become human projectiles in a car crash. They can be tossed around inside the vehicle and even injure or kill those in the front seat.

ATTENTION ALL ADULTS.

Texas law requires drivers and all passengers in a vehicle to be secured by a safety belt. Yes, that means unbuckled adult passengers in the back seat can face fines and court costs of up to $200.

KIDS CAN COST, TOO.

Children younger than eight years old must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches. Fines can be as high as $250 plus court costs.

For more information on “Click It or Ticket”, please visit http://www.texasclickitorticket.com/

Buckle Up and Save a Life!

WFPD Participating in TxDOT Click It Or Ticket Campaign

CIOT-BannerThe Wichita Falls Police Department is participating in this years TxDOT Click It or Ticket Campaign which runs from May 22nd through June 4th. We will have additional Officers on the street focusing on Occupant Protection for all passengers in vehicles. WFPD has partnered with TxDOT’s Click It or Ticket since 2002. Last year WFPD alone issued 321 seatbelt citations and 10 child safety seat citations during the campaign.

Here Is the Law

Texas law now requires drivers and all passengers in vehicles to be secured by a safety belt.

Any child under the age of 8 must be restrained in an approved child passenger safety seat unless taller than 4 feet, nine inches.

Safety Seat Guidelines

Safety belts are designed for adults, not children. Use a booster seat to lift your child up and prevent severe injuries in a crash.

Please remember the following guidelines when buying the proper seat for your child:

Birth-1 Year, Up to 35 Pounds

  • Use a rear-facing seat until your baby reaches the weight limit or height limit of the seat.
  • Secure the chest clip even with your baby’s armpits.
  • Fasten harness straps snugly against your baby’s body.

1-4 Years, 20 to 40 Pounds

  • Use a forward-facing seat for as long as the safety seat manufacturer recommends it.
  • Fasten harness straps snugly against your child’s body.
  • Secure the chest clip even with your child’s armpits.
  • Latch the tether strap to the corresponding anchor if your vehicle has one.

4-8 Years, Over 40 Pounds

  • Use a booster seat.
  • Fasten the lap belt across your child’s thighs and hips, not stomach.
  • Strap the diagonal belt across the chest to rest on the shoulder, not the neck.

WFPD Releases 2017 2nd Quarter TxDOT Comprehensive STEP Grant Stats

636210405772280198-WFPD-STEP

The largest portion of traffic safety funding from TxDOT is used for the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) projects, which pay for overtime activities by local law enforcement to reduce the incidence of speeding, driving while intoxicated, failure to use occupant restraint systems, and intersection traffic control violations. Organizations eligible for STEP funds include the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS), sheriff’s offices, constable’s offices and community police departments.

The Wichita Falls Police Department has finalized the 1st Quarter FY 2017 (January – March) TxDOT Comprehensive STEP Grant Stats:

Adult Seatbelt Citations – 103
Child Safety Seats – 7
Intersection Violations – 207
Speeding – 621
Other Violations – 184
Arrests – 6
Vehicles Impounded – 15
Hours Worked – 416.6
Miles Driven – 3,580

Share the Road

sharetheroadWith Spring comes nicer weather and more opportunities for people to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

The Wichita Falls Police Department would like to remind all drivers and pedestrians to share the road.

The following are a few “rules of the road” based on Texas Transportation Code statutes.

 

 

  • Bicyclists have the rights and duties of other vehicle operators:(551.101)

Yes, this means you have to stop at stop signs and red lights, but cars are required to yield right-of-way to a bicycle when appropriate, just as to any other vehicle.

  • Ride near the curb and go in the same direction as other traffic: (551.103)

Near the curb is subjective (we recommend leaving a cushion of about three feet) but the law gives a cyclist the right to take the lane when necessary for safety.

  • At least one hand on the handlebars (two are safer): (551.102c)

One when signaling but two when turning works well.

  • Use hand and arm signals: (545.107)

Point the way you are going, let the other operators know what you want to do.

  • One rider per saddle: (551.102a)

Don’t let your friends share your bike while riding unless you’re both on a tandem.

  • You may ride two abreast as long as you don’t impede traffic: (551.103c)

Racing and taking the lane are special cases.

  • Must have a white light on the front and a red reflector or red light on the rear (for riding at night): (551.104b)

The light is primarily so people can see you coming from the side, where their headlights do not shine on your reflectors. The law, effective as of Sept. 2001, states that a red light can replace a red reflector.

  • Brakes capable of making the braked wheel skid: (551.104a)

Don’t test that front brake to see if the wheel will skid while riding, especially downhill.

  • A pedestrian may not walk along and on a roadway if an adjacent sidewalk is provided and is accessible to the pedestrian: (552.006)

If a sidewalk is not provided, a pedestrian walking along and on a highway shall if possible walk on the left side of the roadway; or the shoulder of the highway facing oncoming traffic.