The Los Angeles Police Department announced Wednesday that officers will distribute reflective vests and LED clip-on lights to pedestrians who are stopped for violating traffic laws, in a bid to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities.

Farmers Insurance Group donated 1,200 vests and 700 lights to the LAPD as part of the collaborative safety effort, said LAPD Chief Michel Moore.

“Approximately half of all traffic fatalities each year involve pedestrians,” Moore said in a news conference at LAPD headquarters. “Many of them — in fact, over half of those fatalities — are individuals that are outside crosswalks.”

So far this year, 107 of about 200 people killed in traffic crashes in Los Angeles were pedestrians, Moore said.

“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, unfortunately as a nation we see a fatal traffic collision involving a pedestrian every two hours, and we experience an injury every seven minutes,” Moore said. “So, this initiative, we are hopeful, (is) an effort to open up a dialogue with pedestrians as our traffic officers move about the city.”

He said “officers will — in their day-to-day activities across the city — see a pedestrian violation, and they will conduct their traffic stop as they typically do.” But instead of issuing a citation, officers will issue a warning, hand out a pamphlet on traffic safety, and offer the pedestrian a reflective vest or an LED light to clip onto their clothing, the chief said.

“It’s not just an enforcement issue,” Moore said. “This is a matter of education, a matter of awareness, and a matter of personal responsibility.”

Moore said most of the pedestrian deaths and injuries occur on dark streets; and even if pedestrians are in a crosswalk, motorists might not be able to see them, so they should try to make themselves more visible by using reflective items.

“This is common sense,” Moore said. “This really should become part of the arsenal of every walker, of a cyclist, of a person who is moving around the city … We have `defensive driving’ (and should have) `defensive walking,’ as well.”

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