Police ticketed drivers at two Berkeley intersections Thursday, and arrested one person, as part of an operation to crack down on dangerous driving and boost pedestrian safety, authorities report.
Berkeley traffic officers first set up at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Blake Street then moved on to Solano and Colusa avenues as the day wore on.
Police said they arrested one person on suspicion of driving under the influence and wrote 33 tickets for pedestrian safety violations.
Thursday's operation was part of pedestrian safety month in California. BPD said it chose which locations to focus on by analyzing the city's traffic collision data.
BPD said traffic officers primarily looked for drivers who did not yield to pedestrians crossing the street, but also kept an eye out for other vehicle code violations.
In addition to the DUI arrest, police wrote 18 tickets for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, BPD said.
"We encourage drivers to pay attention at all times and to not get distracted while behind the wheel," police said in a prepared statement.
They found motorists who were eating, drinking coffee and using cellphones while driving, all of which prevented them from noticing pedestrians in the area, BPD said.
In addition to warning drivers to behave, police also encouraged "pedestrians to use due regard and take all safety precautions when walking near the roadway," BPD wrote.
Pedestrian safety has been a growing area of concern in California and across the nation in recent years.
"Pedestrians are more and more at risk on the road," the state department of Alcoholic Beverage Control wrote last year. "Based on data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 2020 had the largest ever annual increase, 21 percent, in the rate at which drivers struck and killed pedestrians. In California, pedestrian deaths accounted for 27 percent of all traffic-related deaths in 2019."
In May, in a preliminary report, the GHSA predicted that 2021 would ultimately be determined to have seen the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in four decades.
The data "revealed a troubling statistic," the agency wrote: "The percentage of speeding-related pedestrian deaths among children younger than 15 has more than doubled since 2018, from 5.8% to 11.9%."