INSIDE: Traffic and Parking Regulations

James Vaughn

Evan Ouellette prefers walking to driving because he lives on campus.

He makes his way from student housing to main campus every day, utilizing the crosswalks on University Boulevard – a walk that, at times, has been dangerous.

He remembers when he was almost hit by a car on the crosswalk connecting Parking Lot C to the Orr Center as he made his way to class.

“They hit the gas to beat me instead of stopping,” said the junior criminal justice major. “I could have kicked the car. It was that close.”

Ouellette said he’s also witnessed drivers switch lanes at the last second instead of stopping.

He said public safety officers should do more to stop the close calls from happening.

“I think I have seen one stop by campus security before,” Ouellette said.

He suggested a week without driving privileges for the first offense, followed by a permanent driving ban.

But according to the university’s Traffic and Parking Regulations – a five-page document outlining rules, offenses and citations – it is not until the sixth violation that a vehicle operator receives suspended driving privileges. However, the document is one many students admit to not reading.

Ouellette said he’s never seen it.

Public Safety Staff Sergeant Brian McWilliams said an attachment was emailed to all housing residents over the summer and advertised on myUSI.

It is stated in section 2.23 of the Student Rights and Responsibilities that it is the student’s responsibility to read and comply with the Traffic and Parking Regulations.

Officers do monitor crosswalks during peak traffic hours, but McWilliams said there are a lot of close calls.

“Be it drivers not paying attention, not obeying the speed limit, distracted on their cell phones or texting,” he said. “People have to pay attention to what they’re doing – they’re operating a 2,000 pound piece of metal.”

McWilliams said pedestrians should also pay close attention as they’re crossing the roadway.

“Obviously, drivers are not always paying attention,” he said.

McWilliams said few pedestrians have been struck over the years, and none were seriously injured.

Public Safety does have the authority to perform traffic stops on university property, but it’s left up to officer discretion, he said.

“There is an inherent danger to initiating and performing a traffic stop,” McWilliams said. “You have the potential that the person you are trying to stop will run away. That creates an even bigger hazard. There is an inherent danger about approaching a vehicle, especially at night when you can’t see how many occupants are in the vehicle or what their intentions may be.”

Public Safety officials are not sworn law enforcement officers.

This semester, 11 tickets have been issued for disregarding a stop sign, three speeding tickets have been issued, three reckless driving tickets have been issued and one ticket has been issued for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The numbers do not reflect warnings given by officers who initiated traffic stops.

The majority of citations issued are for invalid decals.

Myth Busters:

If a student gets hit on a crosswalk, do they get free tuition?

“I can’t answer that,” McWilliams said. “There are a lot of myths on college campuses – that’s one of them. I would not recommend trying that as a scholarship option. I don’t know of any written university policy stating that.”