Recently in Pedestrian Safety Category

September 3, 2013

Safe Driving in School Zone Tips

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) an average of 14 children die each year in school transportation related accidents, therefore; now that schools are back in session, children safety should be a priority for all drivers traveling in school areas.

D.C., Maryland and Virginia have the following school safety laws in effect:

- It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading children. The only exception to this rule is when you are traveling on a divided roadway.

- All traffic traveling directly behind a school bus must come to a complete stop until all children have loaded or unloaded the school bus and the lights on the school bus have turned off.

- The 10 feet surrounding the school bus is considered to be the most dangerous area for children, therefore; make sure and give more than the minimum amount of space between your vehicle and the school bus. In Maryland a vehicle must be at least 20 feet behind the stopped school bus and in the District of Columbia a vehicle must be at least 15 feet behind the stopped school bus.

- Keep a proper look out of children entering or exiting the school bus because most children consider the area that the school bus stops as a safe area and so they may be unaware of their surroundings or dangerous situations that could arise.

- School buses use yellow lights to advise drivers that they are approaching a stop and when the red lights and extended arm signal appear it means the school bus is at a complete stop and unloading or loading children.

- There are fines and points associated with speeding in a school zone. If you are issued a citation you will also be given 3 points on your license. If you are going more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit in a school zone you will be given 6 points on your license, a hefty citation and be charged with reckless driving. You may even lose your license for six months.

- When you approach a school zone, the safest thing to do is to travel at 25 mph as a maximum speed, unless otherwise stated by the posted speed limit signs.

- the majority of crashes involving children and school buses occur between 3 pm and 4 pm on weekdays, therefore; use extra caution during these times in school zones, as well as in the early morning hours.

August 7, 2013

August Is the One of the Deadliest Months for Pedestrians and Drivers Nationwide

Yield-To-Pedestrians-Safety-Sign-K-4103.gifAccording to a study conducted by the Department of Transportation it is safer to be a pedestrian in the state of Virginia then in any other state nationwide. It was reported that less than 10 percent of traffic fatalities in Virginia involved pedestrians. It was stated in the report that in both 2010 and 2011, 73 pedestrians were killed as a result of an accident involving another vehicle each year, in the state of Virginia. This means that pedestrian fatalities in Virginia are holding steady while they increase nationwide.

In the neighboring state of Maryland the percentage was 21 percent and in the District of Columbia it was determined that 20 percent of traffic fatalities involved pedestrians. It is important to know that everyone is responsible for the safety of pedestrians. Drivers, the pedestrian and people in decision making positions are all responsible for the safety of pedestrians.

Most pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas, at night and involve alcohol, increasingly. Therefore; these areas should have better sidewalks, crosswalks, signals and overall, be safer for pedestrians.

AAA Mid-Atlantic conducted a study which determined that August is the deadliest driving month nationwide. The dates specifically seem to be August 3rd, 4th, 6th and 12th. Out of over 10,000 motor vehicle accidents on the highways of Virginia, there were 5,800 injuries and 74 deaths, making it the second deadliest month in 2012. The first deadliest month in Virginia in 2012 was July. It was the few days before, during and after the Independence Day celebrations on July 4th. In 2011, Virginia was ranked the 16th deadliest state to drive in, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Therefore, if you plan on hitting the road in August make sure and buckle up, drive safely, keep an eye out for pedestrians and children playing outside, try to have the least amount of distractions while on the road, do not get behind the wheel if you have consumed any amount of alcohol and/or drugs, and overall drive with a little more caution then normally.

November 13, 2012

Stop Sign Cameras in the District of Columbia

Stop Sign.jpgPhoto enforced stop signs have been very successful in the Washington, D.C. area, since they were implemented this fall. These cameras improve safety at intersections by monitoring vehicles and also help prevent pedestrians from being hit by automobiles that do not come to a full stop at stop signs. These cameras act as police officers, on continuous duty watching for violators all day every day, at a minimal cost of actual people doing the job. The District of Columbia cannot afford to post police officers at every dangerous intersection for this duty alone, even for hours a day, much less all day and all week long. Therefore; these cameras are a classic example of technological leaps forward in the United States.

When these cameras were first installed in the D.C. area there was a 30 day transition period when offending drivers were only issued warning tickets, but now that the 30 day transition period is over, drivers receive citations in the mail. The fine for running through these stop signs is $50. The fine for blocking an intersection is $100 and the fine for failing to yield to pedestrians is $250. In order to avoid these fine, under the law the car has to come to a full and complete stop before the crosswalk in order to be considered a legal stop.

In 2011 alone, existing traffic cameras generated $55.1 million dollars, and it is expected to be even more in 2012, now that the stop sign cameras for been implemented all over the city. To date, 16 stop sign cameras have been placed at dangerous intersections all over the District, most of which are near schools.

July 31, 2012

Pedestrian Detection

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 4,280 pedestrians and 618 bicyclists died as a result of accidents with motor vehicles in 2010. You would think that with all the new safety technology in vehicles these alarming number of pedestrian and bicyclists deaths would be less, but they are not. That is why General Motor's (GM) is developing Wi-Fi Pedestrian Detection Technology. This new technology will be installed in GM vehicles to increase a drivers' awareness and prevent pedestrian/driver accidents.

The new Wi-Fi detection device will detect pedestrians and cyclists that carry smartphones, to drivers who carry smartphones, when the pedestrian/cyclists are in the drivers' blindspot or stepping into the roadway from behind parked cars. The communication will be directly between the smartphone of the driver and pedestrians/cyclists. The information will reach users within a second because the connection is between two wireless devices and therefore does not need to go through mobile phone towers. This new technology is said to work between two wireless devices separated by as much as two football fields in distance from one another, therefore; it should give a driver sufficient warning of a pedestrian/cyclist and ultimately decrease vehicle/pedestrian accidents in the United States.

GM is also working on a free application that can be downloaded by bike messengers and construction workers to help vehicles identify them as well.

January 4, 2012

Pedestrian Deaths Among Hispanics in Montgomery County, Maryland Is Alarming

Pedestrian.jpgThere were 11 pedestrian deaths in Montgomery County, Maryland in 2011 and five of them victims were Hispanic. Hispanics only make up about 17 percent of the county's population, therefore; this rate is alarming. According to the AAA Midatlantic and the Latino Advocacy group Casa de Maryland, the number of Hispanics that died as a result of pedestrian accidents is disproportionate when considering that Hispanics only make up a small percent of the County's population.

According to the AAA, Viers Mill Road is one of the deadliest and most dangerous streets for pedestrians. Out of the five victims in 2011, four of them were killed on Viers Mill Road.

Phil Andres, a Montgomery County Council member says that the county will continue its efforts to reach and educate Hispanics on traffic safety, but that it is also up to the pedestrian and drivers in Maryland to be more careful and follow traffic and safety rules more carefully.

Cell Phone use should be a minimum and texting while driving is now illegal in Maryland, therefore, one should not send, receive or view text messages while behind the wheel. Also, cell phone use is only allowed when using an ear piece/bluetooth or if your vehicle comes equipt with hands-free talking. If all drivers follow these rules and more pedestrians make sure and cross at intersections and crosswalks hopefully the number of pedestrian accidents and deaths will lower for all Montgomery County Residents.

October 31, 2011

Ways for Drivers, Pedestrians and Children to Stay Safe This Halloween

Tips to keep your children safe while Trick-or-Treating this Halloween:
• Children should always be accompanied by adults and older kids should travel in groups.
• All traffic laws should be followed. Whenever possible walk on sidewalks and make sure and cross at crosswalks and/or corners.
• Wait outside homes for treats. Never allow your child to enter someone's home or vehicle.
• Also Trick-or-Treat in your own neighborhood, as you are more familiar with the area and your neighbors.
• Make sure your children's costumes fit properly. Masks must have large holes for eyes. Children should carry flashlights so they do not fall or trip in the dark.

Tips for Drivers while Children Trick-or-Treat this Halloween:
• Maryland law requires all drivers to stop for pedestrians at marked crosswalks and intersections, so stop for pedestrians.
• Obey the speed limit.
• Be more cautious between 4pm and 9pm tonight, as that is the time most children are out on the streets trick-or-treating.
• Slowly enter and exit driveways and parking spots.

October 3, 2011

New Traffic Laws Implemented in MD As of October 1, 2011

Distracted Driving.jpgAs of October 1, 2011 Maryland Police Officers are allowed to pull drivers over for text messaging. Sending, receiving and reading text messages while behind the wheel will now be considered a primary offense. Which means, that Police, can now pull over and ticket drivers who are caught sending, receiving or reading text messages without their needing to be any other offense committed. Emergency 911 text messaging is exempt from this new law.

Under the new text messaging law, violators, can be fined up to $70 and receive one point toward suspension of a driver's license. If, an automobile accident or pedestrian/automobile accident is resulted from text messaging the fine will increase to $110 and three points towards the suspension of a driver's license.

This same law is in effect in the District of Columbia, but it is still only a secondary offense in Virginia.

Another new Maryland traffic law going into effect as of October 1, 2011, is that criminal prosecution will be allowed of drivers who are considered negligent in pedestrian and bicyclists deaths. Under this new traffic law, it will be considered a misdemeanor for a person to cause the death of another as a result of the person's driving, operating or controlling a vehicle in a criminal negligent manner.

These two new Maryland traffic laws are being implemented because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 20 percent of crashes in 2009 were cause by distracted drivers, of which, 995 fatal crashes involved drivers distracted by cell phone use.

September 14, 2011

Fatal Crashes on the Rise In Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Anne Arundel County, Maryland has had eight pedestrians and one bicyclist killed by motor vehicles so far this year. A study conducted by the State Highway Administration between 2006 and 2010 reported that 9 pedestrians were killed in 2006, 13 in 2009 and 12 in 2010. None were killed in 2007 or 2008. The number of pedestrians injured between 2006 and 2010 was reported to be 197.

The Anne Arundel Police will therefore start to stop drivers and pedestrians who violate the rules of the road, which include; jaywalkers, hit and run drivers, drivers who ignore bicycle lanes and drivers who run red lights and stop signs. Justin Mulcahy, Anne Arundel Police spokesman, said, "The goal is education and enforcement." The most troubling of these situations are hit-and-run drivers, because the drivers who flee the scene after a pedestrian is hit may be able to aid the pedestrian and keep the person from dying.

The roads where vehicle have struck pedestrians and bicyclists will be targeted, mostly. These areas include Hospital Driver near Crain Highway in Glen Burnie, Maryland, Fort Smallwood Road in Pasadena, Maryland and Jumpers Hole Road and Ritchie Highway. Other areas will also be in routes of patrol, but these are the major areas were fatal accidents have occurred in Anne Arundel and Baltimore City, Maryland.

September 6, 2011

Jaywalkers Will Be Given Tickets in Montgomery County as of September 2011

Pedestrian Walking.jpgCrosswalk.jpg
It was announced Friday, September 2, 2011 by Montgomery County, Maryland officials that there will be a zero-tolerance program to crack down on minor moving violations for drivers and for pedestrians. Such moving violations include: failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and jaywalking.

Drivers who block pedestrian crosswalks, fail to yield to pedestrians, run red lights, do not use turn signals and fail to use their windshield wipers in the rain will be ticketed. Pedestrians, on the other hand will be ticketed if they jaywalk, which is failing to cross at marked crosswalks, fail to obey crosswalk signals and for walking diagonally across intersections.

Each violation will have a fine of $50. The citations/tickets will be issued in high traffic areas and high incident areas, were police officers are more likely to enforce the law. The high incident areas include Piney Branch Road, Wisconsin Avenue, Georgia Avenue, Rockville Pike, Four Corners, Reedie Drive, Randolph Road and Connecticut Avenue.

This crack-down comes due to the fact that between January and June of this year, four pedestrians were killed and 174 collisions involved pedestrians in Montgomery County. In 2010, CountyStat (an oversight department for the county government) reported that there were 436 vehicle collisions with pedestrians and 13 pedestrians were killed. Montgomery County officials also distributed brochures and warned pedestrians of jaywalking in order to improve pedestrian safety. In 2010 alone, Montgomery County spent $8.5 million on pedestrian safety. Therefore, follow the law and remember that your safety on the road, be it as a driver or pedestrian, is your responsibility.