District Attorney Gascón Launches Traffic Safety Campaign

Monday, December 10, 2012

CONTACT: Stephanie Ong Stillman, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167 ADA Alex Bastian, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1931

Challenges the Public to Ask “What’s the Rush”

San Francisco, CA – District Attorney George Gascón launched a traffic safety campaign today to encourage the public to share the streets and help prevent avoidable tragedies. The new ad campaign is titled “What’s the Rush,” and asks motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to work together to make San Francisco’s streets safer. Ads are in English, Spanish, and Chinese and will be displayed on digital bus shelters, MUNI bus exteriors and interiors for the month of December.

“Next time you catch yourself rushing to the next destination, ask yourself ‘What’s the Rush’”, said District Attorney George Gascón. “The few seconds it takes for you to slow down could very well save your life and the lives of those around you.”

The public education campaign is timed during the holiday season when the city’s streets and sidewalks become more crowded and congested. Among California cities, San Francisco has historically had the highest per capita vehicle-pedestrian injury collision rate. While pedestrian injuries & fatalities in San Francisco have declined over the last decade, it remains high. In 2011, there were 17 pedestrian fatalities in San Francisco.

The new campaign features the tagline “What’s the Rush” and includes traffic fines for a driver not yielding to pedestrians, a pedestrian crossing on a red light, and a bicyclist running a red light. The District Attorney emphasized that many traffic collisions can be easily avoided by slowing down and encouraged the public to be aware of safety rules such as:
• Drivers obeying traffic rules by respecting pedestrians’ right-of-way and to avoid speeding, cell phone use.
• Bicyclists riding responsibility, predictably and obeying the rules of the road
• Pedestrians being mindful of their surroundings, to limit texting while walking or crossing the street, and to cross streets at intersections and designated areas.

The District Attorney commended community groups such as the Southern District Community Police Advisory Board for organizing a volunteer driven pedestrian safety effort called “Be City Smart”. Susan Nelson, co-chair of the group supports the District Attorney’s Traffic Safety Campaign, "the Southern District CPAB (Community Police Advisory Board) looks forward to linking our pedestrian safety awareness efforts in South of Market with this city wide effort. We are fortunate to be the home for many new businesses. Now is the time to improve awareness for our visitors, workers and residents about how to live, work and literally "move" safely through our busy urban streets. Encouraging smart pedestrian behaviors will ensure their safety and also protect everyone's quality of life. "