SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – City police are enforcing a new California law to help prevent deadly accidents, and as it turns out, many are actually caused by pedestrians.

“I looked. I didn’t see anything coming and the next thing you know this woman came that far from running me over,” Shirlene Darby said while trying to cross the street.

There’s been a big spike in the number of people killed on Sacramento streets. On average, the city has about 10 fatal pedestrian accidents each year, but last year 19 people lost their lives while walking.

“One fatality is too many,” said Sacramento Police Department Sgt. Vance Chandler.

Officers are launching a new outreach effort called “Wait for the Walk.”

“We got a lot of complaints out here, people not following the rules, jaywalkers,” an officer told one pedestrian.

On Wednesday, police conducted high-visibility enforcement in areas known to have problem pedestrians. Part of the effort is education with officers handing out a warning.

“Technically you’re in violation today,” the officer told the man who crossed in the red. “So instead of giving you a ticket, I’m going to give you a crosswalk flyer.”

Before, pedestrians weren’t allowed to cross a street once the walk signal began a countdown or flashing red. But now you’re allowed to cross as long as you make it across before the clock expires — if it has a countdown.

If it’s just a red flashing hand, you must stop and wait for the box to turn white. Police say following the law and being alert is key.

“Your safety is far more important than that text or whatever you’re doing on your cell phone,” Chandler said.

The city is also installing new crosswalk signals to help improve pedestrian safety

City leaders have set a goal of having zero fatal accidents by the year 2027.

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