HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Hazleton Area is pushing a pedestrian awareness campaign over the next week and they’re getting some help from a PennDOT grant.
According to Rebecca Rybak, a coordinator for the Northeastern Highway Safety Program, “Hazleton has a lot of incidences where pedestrians are getting seriously injured or killed. So that’s how they received the funding.”
Officials see a variety of issues creating these dangerous intersections. According to Jessica Surkin, a Hazleton patrolman, drivers don’t understand that the pedestrian has the right of way even though there’s no signal.
But this campaign isn’t just to increase awareness for drivers, it’s also for pedestrians.
Rybak says, “Into your middle school and teenage years, we have to remind students not to look down at their phones when they’re crossing the street. Wearing earbuds when they’re crossing the street, all of those can be a distraction.”
The grant was given based on data from the highway traffic safety administration that showed the high incidence rate in the Hazelton area.
Surkin said their plan is to, “Get a bunch of information and figure out our problem areas. Mainly it’s gonna be 15th and lincoln and down on broad. Try and combat the issues of fatalities and crosswalks versus pedestrians and vehicles.”
The campaign push will last through next weekend, but officials hope the impacts are evident quickly.
Surkin said, “We want to deter any kind of fatality or injury any kind of mishap that could happen. In hopes to save a child’s life, or someone’s life. ”
Officials say that at the end of the day they want drivers and pedestrians to share the road and be aware of each other.