The UT Police Department increased their traffic safety enforcement along Robert Dedman Drive near the Law School and the Butler School of Music indefinitely on Monday.
The targeted enforcement began after police received complaints of speeding and drivers not yielding to pedestrians. During the first hour of enforcement, UTPD made 14 traffic stops, UTPD spokeswoman Noelle Newton Schrader said.
UTPD will only issue warnings this week, unless during the stop, officers find the driver has previous violations or does not have car insurance or registration, UTPD Corporal Jeffrey Corff said. Next week, UTPD will begin ticketing if the traffic violations persist.
“If we’re not getting a change in behavior then that may be another course of action to cite them next time,” Corff said.
Where previously the area of Robert Dedman Drive was part of the general campus patrol, it is now a targeted enforcement area and will have two to three police cars at a time.
Corff said UTPD wants to educate students, faculty, staff and campus visitors on the 15 mph speed limit on campus and make sure they are aware of pedestrians.
“Our enforcement strategy at this point is just education,” Corff said. “If you’re going 15 (mph) and reacting to somebody walking in front of you, there’s going to be a better chance for you to react and (for) people to be safe. If you’re going 30 or 35 (mph) through campus, it can be a much more dangerous situation.”
Trumpet performance junior Rebecca Ortiz said the crosswalk in between the Bass Concert Hall and the Butler School of Music is especially dangerous and it is good that UTPD is trying to enforce traffic rules.
“I think it’s not as safe as other usual crosswalks just because nobody knows the speed limit on that road,” Ortiz said. “(There are) all those cars parked (by that crosswalk) and you never see when a pedestrian is going to walk right out, and since people are going more than 15 (mph) and the pedestrian is just going to walk, it can be pretty dangerous.”
UTPD will have multiple patrol cars out on Robert Dedman Drive during the morning and evening rush hours for multiple weeks or even months until the issues have been resolved,
“We want to have a couple good days of education, making an abundance of traffic stops, having our presence out there so we’ll have two or three cars out there at a time with lights on, hopefully that will get people to slow down as well,” Corff said. “It makes people pay attention.”
Vocal performance junior Brigid Becker did not know the on-campus speed limit was 15 mph and said she thinks it is good UTPD is trying to enforce the speed limit more but that pedestrians also need to pay attention.
“I think in general around the school everyone needs to slow down,” Becker said. “Unfortunately, students like to jaywalk, and I’ve definitely been in a car that’s about to hit a kid that’s running around not on the crosswalks. I’ve also seen people almost get hit.”