Keep­ing safe this back to school season

The Avenue News - - NEWS -

As fam­i­lies across Mary­land pre­pare for the start of the school year, the Mary­land Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion (MDOT SHA) joins AAA Mid-At­lantic, Baltimore County Pub­lic Schools (BCPS) and Baltimore County Po­lice to re­mind driv­ers and pedes­tri­ans that every­one has a role in keep­ing Mary­land’s youngest com­muters safe. As school chil­dren walk to bus stops, stand along roads and walk to school, driv­ers need to pay at­ten­tion for pedes­tri­ans.

“We urge every­one to Look Up Look Out to keep our youngest com­muters — chil­dren and stu­dents – safe this school year. There is no com­pe­ti­tion be­tween your ve­hi­cle and a child. If every­one fol­lows the rules of the road by putting down their de­vices, look­ing up and look­ing out, every­one will make it home,” said Mary­land Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tor Greg Slater. “Along with ed­u­ca­tional stu­dent as­sem­blies, we are re­mind­ing driv­ers to slow down and pay at­ten­tion through pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ments and so­cial me­dia.”

Baltimore County Pub­lic Schools will re­open on Tues­day, Sept. 5.

“The BCPS Of­fice of Trans­porta­tion is ex­cited to wel­come more than 70,000 stu­dents back onto our buses for the new school year. Another 40,000-plus stu­dents will use other meth­ods to come to school, in­clud­ing walk­ing and cy­cling,” said David McCrae, Di­rec­tor of Trans­porta­tion, Baltimore County Pub­lic Schools. “We’d like to take this op­por­tu­nity, along with our part­ners here to­day, to re­mind all our fel­low road users through­out Baltimore County about stop­ping for school bus red lights and stop arms, as well as gen­er­ally tak­ing ex­tra care with the re­turn of our stu­dents to the side­walks and cross­walks.”

“As Mary­land school teach­ers and par­ents pre­pare to be­gin the new school year, AAA is proud to part­ner with the Mary­land Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Baltimore County of­fi­cials to re­mind mo­torists to be es­pe­cially vig­i­lant dur­ing the morn­ing and af­ter­noon hours when chil­dren are go­ing to and from school,” said Rag­ina C. Averella, Pub­lic and Gov­ern­ment Af­fairs Man­ager at AAA Mid-At­lantic.

“Trag­i­cally, more school-age pedes­tri­ans have been killed from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. than any other time of the day,” she added.

Last year, 107 pedes­tri­ans were killed and another 3,318 peo­ple were in­jured. More than 500 of the pedes­tri­ans in­volved in Mary­land crashes were age 15 or younger.

Mo­torists should be aware that en­force­ment is a key com­po­nent of traf­fic safety ef­forts. “Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Safety Coun­cil, pedes­trian-in­volved in­juries are the sec­ond lead­ing cause of death in the United States for chil­dren be­tween the ages of 5 to 14 years old,” said Colonel Alexan­der Jones, Chief of the Baltimore County Po­lice Depart­ment’s Op­er­a­tion Bureau. “In re­sponse, the Po­lice Depart­ment will fo­cus [en­force­ment ef­forts] on traf­fic safety in our school zones and around school buses.”

MDOT SHA and part­ners issues these im­por­tant re­minders for pedes­tri­ans and driv­ers: For pedes­tri­ans:

Use side­walks and marked cross­walks when­ever pos­si­ble.

Press the pedes­trian sig­nal but­ton and wait for the walk sig­nal.

Al­ways stop at the curb and look left, right and left be­fore cross­ing a street.

Watch for cars turn­ing in or leav­ing drive­ways. Walk, don’t run across the street. Wear light or bight col­ored cloth­ing.

Pay at­ten­tion take off head­phones while walk­ing – no tex­ting or play­ing games. For driv­ers: Al­ways stop for pedes­tri­ans. Obey traf­fic signs, sig­nals and mark­ings.

Ob­serve posted speed lim­its. Speed­ing only makes it more dif­fi­cult to stop for pedes­tri­ans.

Keep your eyes on the road. It’s il­le­gal to use a hand­held phone/ de­vise or text while driv­ing.

When a school bus stops, the flash­ing red lights go on and the stop sign flaps come out, driv­ers in BOTH di­rec­tions are re­quired to stop. This is the most dan­ger­ous time as chil­dren get­ting on or off the bus.

It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus with its flash­ing red lights ac­ti­vated and stop arm ex­tended.

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