(February 26, 2021) – As public school students in many jurisdictions across Maryland continue transitioning back to the classroom next week after almost a year of virtual learning, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is reminding drivers and pedestrians that everyone has a role in keeping Maryland’s youngest commuters safe.

“In many jurisdictions, it’s been almost a year since motorists have encountered children walking to and from schools and bus stops,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Tim Smith. “Mornings and afternoons are going to look different for motorists and students as they head off to work and school. All drivers and pedestrians need to remember to obey the rules of the road that have been put in place to help save lives.It is imperative that we all do our part to ensure students arrive to school and home safely.”

In 2019, there were 125 pedestrians killed on Maryland roads. Through the three “Es” of safety—education, engineering and enforcement, MDOT SHA and other state, local and private partners are focused on preventing pedestrian crashes and eliminating traffic fatalities.

“Sharing the road safely with all users – motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and others – is a message we share every day, but it’s particularly important as we think about children returning to the classroom,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “Many of our roadways have been less populated in recent months, so it’s critical for drivers and pedestrians to stay alert and look out for one another.”

Motorists should remember to allow more time in the morning to get to work, look before backing out of their driveways and drive slow in school zones and residential areas. Additional safety reminders include:

  • 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, flashing red lights go on and the stop sign flaps come out, drivers in BOTH directions are required by law to stop.

Parents are reminded to lead by example and discuss pedestrian safety behaviors with their children, such as:

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks whenever possible.
  • Press the pedestrian signal button and waiting for the walk signal at intersections.
  • Always stop at the curb and look left, right and left again before crossing a street.
  • Watch for cars turning in or leaving driveways.
  • Walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Pay attention – remove headphones while walking and don’t text or play games.

For more information on driver, pedestrian and bicycle safety, click HERE.


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