Dramatic Ads Offer Safety Tips, Promote Increased Traffic Safety Vigilance
Like millions of others in the area, most days Stephen Grasty walks several blocks a day–to work, to a Metro stop, to a friend’s house. Though he has had his share of close calls, he has never been hit by a car and he would like to keep in that way. Stephen’s face—symbolically blemished by a tire tread—will soon be appearing in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ new public awareness safety campaign urging drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists to look out for each other.
The Street Smart campaign offers safety tips to prevent pedestrian and bicyclist deaths and injuries in the DC metro area. The campaign began the second week of April in the wake of recent pedestrian crashes that left a 71-yearold woman dead in the 1100 block of Florida Avenue and at least 12 other pedestrians killed in crashes in the Washington metropolitan region in 2013 to date. “Most people do not stop to think how vulnerable pedestrians are on our streets and sidewalks,” said District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray. “But the reality is that we must protect pedestrians from cars and other vehicles, because when they collide with a pedestrian, the pedestrian never wins.”
The “tired faces” visuals call attention to the dangers confronting pedestrians and bicyclists with the larger-than life faces of area residents on ads on buses and in transit shelters in the District, Virginia and Maryland. State and local officials want drivers to actively watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially when turning. They also are reminding bicyclists to ride with traffic and stop at red lights and urging pedestrians to use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal before crossing the street. In 2012, preliminary data indicates there were 3,033 crashes in the DC metropolitan region involving pedestrians and bicyclists, which resulted in 70 fatalities. On average, pedestrians and bicyclists account for 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the Washington region.
During the Street Smart campaign, which runs through May 13, law enforcement officers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and northern Virginia will be watching for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists who violate traffic safety laws. Drivers and cyclists who fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, as well as pedestrians who jaywalk, can face fines that range from $40 to $500. Drivers also are subject to getting points on their driver records.
Information on the new campaign and the Street Smart public education program may be found at www.bestreetsmart.net.
StreetSmart Press Release in Spanish
Jurisdicational Fact Sheet
StreetSmart Campaign Quick Facts Sheet
New Articles about the StreetSmart Campaign:
NewsChannel 8's "NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt"
WRC-TV (NBC)'s "Viewpoint"
Fairfax Daily Monitor
Washington Post 1
Montgomery County Sentinel
Univision interviewing Montgomery County Pedestrian Safety Coordinator Jeff Dunckel about the new StreetSmart campaign