ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s been another deadly and dangerous year so far in St. Petersburg, especially for people just trying to walk or bike near some of the city’s busiest intersections.
The St. Petersburg Police Department is now out in force, cracking down on speeders and targeting some of the most dangerous intersections in the city.
“We definitely see more aggressive driving,” Sgt. Michael Schade said.
Cops are also watching out for on red-light runners and distracted drivers as the number of fatal wrecks involving motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians continue to climb.
“Right now, we have 16 fatalities in the city this year. Same time last year we had 15,” Schade said. “We see people not only a lot more cars on the road, but a lot more cars are going faster than the speed limit and by a significant amount.”
Erin Hearn, who was struck by a vehicle on her way home from classes a few years back, is nervous every time she crosses the street now.
“A car ran into me and didn’t see me. And I got a broken ankle in three places. And I had to have surgery,” Hearn said. “It’s not worth it to speed. No.”
One of four intersections targeted on Tuesday was the corner of 38th Avenue North and 66th Street. It’s considered the city’s worst for traffic wrecks so far in 2022 with 22 collisions in just the first quarter of this year.
“We’re not doing this as a penalty to people,” Schade said “The point of the traffic enforcement operation is to change people’s behavior.”
By late afternoon, St. Pete PD said it had already written 212 citations and given 32 warnings. Most of them, they say, were given to people driving at least 15 mph over the posted speed limit.
The department says it recognizes one day of enforcement isn’t going to change people’s aggressive driving habits, so they intend to do more of these operations with the next scheduled in just a couple of weeks.