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Don’t text & walk: Police launch Danforth distracted-pedestrian blitz

Toronto police are conducting a one-day blitz Friday, reminding pedestrians to pay attention to the road and not their mobile devices when crossing the street.

The program, dubbed Operation Smart Walk, is the latest effort by police to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths. In the spring, police launched the Head’s Up pedestrian safety campaign.

On Friday, officers were stationed in the Danforth and Broadview avenues area, looking out for pedestrians texting while crossing the road, handing out safety pamphlets and talking to locals.

Last year, 2,101 pedestrians were hit — 18 of them died. Police say the pedestrian was at fault in nearly half of those accidents.

“A pedestrian must understand when they’re crossing the street to discipline themselves, put the cellphone down to their side, keep their head up … they must look after themselves,” Sgt. Jack West said.
“It’s their responsibility to watch out for that driver who’s not watching them.”

West said drivers in a hurry to make left-hand turns present one of the biggest dangers.

Meanwhile, OPP officers are patrolling the highways this long weekend in an effort to prevent crashes.