Recognizing that less than 50% of Central Florida drivers are yielding to pedestrians near parks and trails, the Best Foot Forward for Pedestrian Safety program will be kicking off its quarterly pedestrian safety enforcement beginning April 30, dubbed Operation Best Foot Forward, to bring awareness and education to drivers to keep pedestrians safe near parks and trail crossings in Central Florida.

Law enforcement agencies in and around Osceola County will be conducting a two-week high-visibility crosswalk enforcement from Tuesday, April 30 to Friday, May 10 as part of FDOT’s Target Zero initiative to reduce traffic-related serious injuries and deaths to zero.

During Operation Best Foot Forward, plainclothes officers and deputies will cross streets at marked crosswalks, giving drivers enough time to slow down and stop safely. Drivers who do not stop as Florida law requires will be pulled over and face a minimum $164 citation and three (3) points on their driver’s license. Most crosswalks chosen for enforcement are near parks and trail crossings.

According to data collected by the Best Foot Forward for Pedestrian Safety program this year, only 49% of drivers yield to pedestrians within a half-mile of parks and only 46% of drivers yield to pedestrians at trail crossings. In a recent study by Injury Prevention, the risk of child pedestrian fatalities is more than twice as high near parks compared to schools. This may be related to the built-in environment within school zones that slows down drivers during times when children are most likely to be walking. This quarter’s operation aims to instill that same sense of cautiousness around parks and trail crossings, especially as the school year comes to an end and more children will likely spend time outdoors at parks and trails.

Operation Best Foot Forward is part of the Best Foot Forward coalition’s larger effort to improve road safety. Studies show that driver behavior changes when you combine these enforcement strategies, education, and engineering over a sustained period.