Celebrate Safely on Independence Day

The Durham Police Department (DPD) encourages residents to observe the July 4th holiday with safety as a priority.  As families and friends prepare to gather for fireworks, concerts, festivals, cookouts, etc., the police department promotes awareness of, and adherence to, the following laws and tips related to gun, pedestrian and motor safety and reporting non-emergency and nuisance issues.


Gun Safety

> celebratory gunfire (the act of pointing a gun towards the sky and firing shots into the air to commemorate an event or holiday) is unsafe and against the law. Bullets shot in to the air eventually come down and can damage property or cause serious injury or death.  In Durham, anyone caught firing a gun into the air could be charged with a CLASS 3 misdemeanor and face a fine of up to $500.

> Keep firearms away from children and in a safe location.

> If leaving town, hide and lock your gun(s).

> Report any illegal firearms activity immediately. CALL 911.


Pedestrian and Motor Safety

(from http://www.watchformenc.org/)

Did you know that on average, about 160 pedestrians and 20 bicyclists are killed each year in the North Carolina, representing about 15% of all traffic fatalities that occur on North Carolina roads?  One in four vehicle-pedestrian crashes in the Triangle happen when the car is turning at an intersection or driveway. Nearly one in three vehicle-pedestrian crashes in the Triangle happen in parking lots. More than half of all vehicle-pedestrian crashes in the Triangle occur near bus stops or on roads with bus routes.

 Driver Laws

> Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians at marked crossings and unmarked crosswalks at intersections except where there is a traffic or pedestrian signal.

> Drivers must stop for pedestrians at stop signs and flashing red lights and must yield for pedestrians at flashing yellow lights.

Drivers making right or left turns must allow pedestrians to cross first, unless pedestrians are prohibited from crossing.

Pedestrians or bicyclists on sidewalks have the right of way, so drivers must let them pass before turning into or out of driveways and parking lots.

> State law prohibits drivers from passing vehicles stopped for pedestrians in crosswalks.

> It is incumbent upon drivers to make sure the road is clear of pedestrians before pulling forward or backing up.

>  Do not drink and drive.

Pedestrian Laws

> Pedestrians have the right of way at marked crossings, meaning cars must yield to pedestrians. (§20-155 and §20-173)

> State law requires pedestrians to use marked crosswalks when they are provided, and it is unlawful to cross a street outside a marked crosswalk if the pedestrian is between two signalized intersections.

> When NOT at an intersection or marked crosswalk, pedestrians must yield the right of way to all vehicles.

> At crosswalks with pedestrian signals, state law requires that pedestrians obey the Walk and Don’t Walk signs in the same way a driver must obey Red or Green lights.

> State law requires pedestrians walking along the road to use sidewalks when available.

> When sidewalks are not available, pedestrians are to walk to the far left edge of the road facing traffic. Walking in this direction gives pedestrians the best view of traffic.

Use the Non-Emergency Number for Noise and Illegal Fireworks Complaints

The Durham Emergency Communications Center increases staffing on the July 4th holiday as call volume registering fireworks complaints increases. Such calls can overwhelm the personnel resulting in delayed answering of high priority emergency 9-1-1 calls. The highest volume occurs between the hours of 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. on July 4. Durham 9-1-1 is asking residents to use the non-emergency number of (919) 560-4600 to report noise complaints, illegal fireworks and anything else that can wait during these hours.

James Soukup, Emergency Communications Director, asks, That if is more of a nuisance call to call the non-emergency line. The 9-1-1 Communication Officers are trying to keep 9-1-1 lines clear for residents calling to report medical emergencies and other urgent calls. “We’ re asking that the public determine if it’s something they can wait to report. However, if it is an emergency, we still want you to call 9-1-1. The non-emergency line can be overloaded as well, however extra staff will on duty to minimize the wait time.

For additional holiday safety tips visit: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Have-a-Safe-Fourth-of-July.     

Kimberly Walkier, DPD Public Affairs