County Executive Ike Leggett has announced an awareness and enforcement campaign regarding distracted driving and distracted walking. The “Stay Alert, Stay Alive” campaign is part of Montgomery County’s Vision Zero initiative to reduce severe and fatal collisions among vehicle occupants, bicyclists and pedestrians. The National Safety Council has identified April as Distracted Driving Awareness month.
“Montgomery County remains focused on efforts to reduce severe and fatal traffic collisions on our roadways,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “Distracted driving and distracted walking are two of the leading causes of crashes in Montgomery County. We are reminding drivers and pedestrians of the need to stay alert to stay alive.”
The Montgomery County Vision Zero initiative focuses on traffic engineering, enforcement and education toward a 35 percent reduction in severe injuries and fatalities by November 2019. In announcing the initiative, Leggett was joined by Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich, Director of the Montgomery County Department of Police Traffic Division Thomas Didone, and Montgomery County Public Schools Supervisor of Health and Physical Education Cara Grant.
“Since 2012, Montgomery County has lost an average of 35 residents every year to traffic accidents on our roadways,” said County Councilmember Marc Elrich. “They are our friends, our neighbors, and our children. Their deaths are preventable. As Chair of the Council’s Public Safety committee, I am encouraged by the level of cooperation between county agencies to achieve Vision Zero. It will take a concerted effort to get at the problem by increasing awareness and changing behavior through strategic enforcement from county police, effective education programs, and engineered traffic calming solutions.”
Throughout the month of April and ending in May, Montgomery County Police will be aggressively enforcing prevention of cell phone use while driving (distracted driving) and seat belt violations throughout the County.
They will also conduct, "Operation Safe Ride" to schools, targeting elementary and middle schools. Traffic Officers select areas around schools in their Districts to first monitor for cell phone use and non-use of seat belts while driving. They will report the number and types of violations to the schools' principals. The principals will then do an educational outreach to their parents. After the outreach, the officers will come back to the same areas and conduct strict enforcement of these laws. The goal is to encounter fewer offenders because of the school’s educational outreach to their communities.
“Stay Alert, Stay Alive” campaign information about distracted driving and walking will be shared via social media, e-communications and electronic screens located around the County.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will collaborate during Teen Pedestrian Safety Week to educate both youth and drivers about undistracted walking and driving (April 23 – 27). Over the last five years, drivers have hit at least 292 teen pedestrians in Montgomery County; five of those teens died.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation handles traffic engineering improvements throughout Montgomery County. As an example of those, here is a link to engineering and other safety-related improvements in the North Wheaton community, where the press event was held.
More information about “Vision Zero” can be found at the County’s Vision Zero website.
Top: Leggett was joined by Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich, Director of the Montgomery County Department of Police Traffic Division Thomas Didone, and Montgomery County Public Schools Supervisor of Health and Physical Education Cara Grant, and other members of the Montgomery County Police Department.
Next: Montgomery County Police Captain Thomas Didone, the head of the MCPD Traffic Division addressed the media about the dangers of distracted driving.
Photos courtesy Montgomery County.