Thursday, April 11, 2013
Jeff Dunckel (MCDOT) and Captain Thomas Didone (MCPD) address students at Seneca Valley High School about pedestrian safety
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 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. Mrs. Gwendolyn Ward, mother of Christina Morris-Ward, a 15-year old Seneca Valley student who was tragically killed crossing Germantown Road this past Halloween morning, also spoke to the crowd of more than 1,200 high school students about the potentially life-threatening consequences of not obeying pedestrian safety laws. The assembly also featured a 10-minute Public Safety Announcement produced by students at the high school, which highlighted the importance of being a safe pedestrian and driver.
Over the next week and a half a team of pedestrian safety Champions, comprised of parents and members of the community, as well as representatives from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, were out on the streets talking to the high school students about crossing safely and handing out reflective materials. The Champions reminded pedestrians to practice the following safe behaviors:
· Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections
· Look left, right, left, and over their 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
· Stop texting and talking on the cell and remove earphones
Following the education campaign, police were out on the streets around the high school issuing citations to pedestrians and drivers who did not obey the law. Pedestrians were 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 were fined $80 for not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The purpose of the education and enforcement campaign is to inform the students about crossing safely so that future tragedies can be avoided. The campaign will encourage students to BE SAFE, BE SEEN, and BE STREET SMART.
The pedestrian safety Champions plan to continue efforts at the school next year. If you would like to partcipate as a Champion in this campaign, please contact Ruthanne Stoltzfus: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read aticles on the Seneca Valley HS Pedestrian Safety Campaign:
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Station 22 Distributing Pedestrian Safety Materials to Seneca Valley High School Students
Seneca Valley High School Principal Marc Cohen with Derrick Gilliam (MCPS Security) and pedestrian safety Champions Ellyn Terry and Ruthanne Stoltzfus