Tuesday, April 30, 2013

MCDOT Conducts Pedestrian Safety Education Campaign at Seneca Valley High School

The morning of April 11 marked the beginning of a pedestrian safety education and enforcement campaign at Seneca Valley High School in Germantown. The campaign kicked off with a student assembly featuring Gwendolyn Ward, mother of Christina Morris-Ward, a 15-year old Seneca Valley student who was tragically killed crossing Germantown Road this past Halloween. She spoke to the crowd of more than 1,200 high school students about the potentially life-threatening consequences of not obeying pedestrian safety laws. Other speakers included Seneca Valley High School Principal Marc Cohen, Montgomery County Police Captain Thomas Didone, and Montgomery County Department of Transportation's Pedestrian Safety Coordinator Jeff Dunckel. The assembly also featured a 10-minute public service announcement produced by students at the high school, which highlighted the importance of being a safe pedestrian and driver.

The assembly was followed by a several week campaign conducted by a team of pedestrian safety Champions, comprised of parents and members of the community, as well as representatives from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue. They intercepted students as they crossed streets, handing out reflective materials and talking to them about crossing safely. Tips included:
  • Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections; 
  • Look left, right, left, and over the shoulder for turning vehicles when crossing the street; 
  • Begin crossing the street on the “walk” signal; 
  • Stay visible after dark; 
  • Make eye contact with drivers; and 
  • Stop texting and talking on the cell and remove earphones. 
Following the education campaign, police issued citations to pedestrians and drivers who were not obeying the law. Pedestrians will be fined $50 for crossing outside of a crosswalk if both adjacent intersections have traffic signals, or starting to cross at a signalized intersection if the pedestrian signal is red or flashing red. Drivers will be fined $80 for not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.