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Street Smart kick-off reminds us that shorter days require more caution on the roads

Nov 8, 2016
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75 pairs of white shoes memorialized the 75 pedestrians and bicyclists who were killed in the Washington region in 2015.

The region’s Street Smart pedestrian and bicyclist safety awareness program kicked off its fall campaign November 4 reminding drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians that the shorter days of fall and winter require more caution to stay safe. Twice a year the TPB along with its member jurisdictions work with law enforcement to raise awareness of the importance of traffic safety laws in keeping all travelers safe.

At the kick-off event, law enforcement officers, transportation officials, and medical staff gathered in the parking lot of the United Medical Center on Southern Avenue in the District of Columbia close to the location of two pedestrian deaths last year. At the event, 75 pairs of white shoes memorialized the two pedestrians, Faith Pine and Emebet Kebede, and the 73 other pedestrians and bicyclists who were killed in the Washington region in 2015.

Commander Jeff Carroll from DC Metropolitan Police Department speaks about enforcement.

Commander Jeff Carroll from DC Metropolitan Police Department speaks about enforcement.

District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Leif Dormsjo emphasized how important it is for drivers to stay alert and be sure to look out for pedestrians. “Especially during the fall and winter months when we have fewer hours of daylight, visibility becomes a critical safety issue,” he said.  “It’s especially important for drivers to slow down and be on the look-out for people walking and biking who are the most vulnerable to serious injuries or death in traffic crashes.”

Last year in November and December, crashes involving pedestrians spiked with more than 550 incidents, 21 percent higher than average. And, nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities in 2015 were at their highest levels in twenty years. The agency has also reported that 72 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred during darkness, and that one in four pedestrians was killed in an incident that occurred between 6:00 and 9:00 P.M.

Chief Hank Stawinski of the Prince George's County Police Department and Dr. Anthony Jones look on as they prepare to speak to the gathering.

Chief Hank Stawinski of the Prince George's County Police Department and Dr. Anthony Jones look on as they prepare to speak to the gathering.

The TPB along with its member jurisdictions work with law enforcement to not only educate all road users but also step up enforcement during these shorter days. Now through November 27, police will be stepping up their efforts to identify and ticket drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists who break traffic safety laws.

Learn more about Street Smart at BeStreetSmart.net.

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