Montgomery County enlists teens in pedestrian safety push

December 2, 2013
ROCKVILLE,MD -DECEMBER 6: Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett talks about the next four years after a swearing in ceremony at Rockville High School Monday, December 6, 2010 in Rockville, MD. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Montgomery County Executive Isaiah Leggett has made pedestrian safety one of his signature issues during his tenure. Just last month, Leggett unveiled a new campaign to raise awareness about pedestrian safety in parking lots.

Now the county’s Department of Transportation is looking to reach a segment of the population that is increasingly vulnerable — teenagers.

According to statistics from Safe Kids Worldwide, one in five high school students said they crossed the street while distracted — most often they were text messaging or using headphones. The group’s 2013 Teens and Distraction research report found that older teens account for 50 percent of all pedestrian deaths among those under 20 years of age. In the past five years, there has been a 25 percent increase in pedestrian injuries among those ages 16 to 19.

MCDOT is offering teams of high school students up to $2,000 for creating, designing and implementing a pedestrian safety education program at their high school as part of the “Walk Your Way”campaign.

To be eligible for the grants, students must work in teams of two or more and have the support of at least one teacher or staff supervisor. They must complete their project by April 30, 2014.

MCDOT has launched similar efforts at Blair High School and at Seneca Valley High School.

Teams interested in applying for the grants should submit an application by 5 p.m. Dec. 16 via e-mail to walkyourway@montgomerycountymd.gov, or they can send it to: Walk Your Way, 101 Monroe St., 10th Floor, Rockville, Md. 20850. Mailed applications must be postmarked by Dec. 16.

Questions? Contact Nadji Kirby or Alex Cohen at walkyourway@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.
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