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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Montgomery County Government departments and agencies are combining their resources in November to launch one of the most aggressive campaigns in County history to make drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists aware of the added perils that come with time changes, and decreased hours of afternoon daylight occurring with the switch to Standard Time. The approximately 20 planned “Be Safe, Be Seen” events will form the most comprehensive one-month safety campaign that the County has ever undertaken. The first event will take place from 4-6 p.m. TODAY, Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the East Side of the Shady Grove Metro Station.

A 2016 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that 26 percent of all pedestrian deaths occurred between 6 p.m. and 8:59 p.m. Because peak evening commuting times in fall and winter occur during periods of increased darkness, danger is increased. The adjustment to Standard Time began the shift for this season.

Among those who will promote safe behavior at the kickoff event will be County Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Goldstein and Director of the Department of Transportation Chris Conklin.

This new campaign is evidence of the value of collaboration facilitated by the County’s Vision Zero Initiative, which is committed to reducing and eventually eliminating all traffic-related deaths. The concept was initiated by the County’s Police Department during targeted Vision Zero collaboration and subsequently brought in cooperative action by the County’s Department of Transportation. The Be Safe, Be Seen campaign also will involve the combined efforts of the Fire and Rescue Service, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), the CountyStat program and the Office of Public Information.

“Traffic collisions that lead to severe and fatal injuries are more likely to occur in darkness and we need people to take a little more care, pay a little more attention and to take a few extra steps so everyone is safer on our streets,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “The Be Safe, Be Seen campaign is going to try and appeal to all types of people to make them be more aware—and avoid being involved in a collision.”

The campaign will distribute safety literature in English and Spanish, reflective stickers and items that will serve as reminders to avoid distractions and maximize safe behaviors and visibility while on the move—especially in darkness. Vision Zero partners, including police, will be out in force at the Be Safe, Be Seen events to emphasize the need for increased awareness.

“Our role in this campaign is to get people to obey traffic laws; refrain from driving, riding a bicycle or walking distracted; and to look out for others,” said MCDOT Director Conklin. “Everyone needs to do their part and use common sense. We just want everyone to get to where they are going safely.”

The Be Safe, Be Seen campaign will be aimed at both adults and children. The campaign will consist of:
  • Safety events at bus stations throughout the County that have the highest ridership levels to reach people who may be walking to or from bus stops in the dark.
  • Safety education brochures distributed on Ride On buses.
  • Outreach at high schools with the highest numbers of students who walk to and from school.
  • Efforts directed toward new drivers at all County high schools.
  • Distribution of literature in English and Spanish offering safety tips.
  • Distribution of reflective items and glow sticks to increase visibility for cyclists and walkers.
  • Extra enforcement of driver violations that impact pedestrian rights-of-way.
"As first responders, we see firsthand the consequences of speed and distraction," said Fire Chief Goldstein. "In the weeks ahead, less daylight means many commuters and pedestrians will be spending more time traveling when it is dark and visibility is reduced. Take an extra second and look around. Don’t assume that a driver has seen you before you step off the curb or as they are navigating in or out of a parking space. Let’s work together to keep everyone safe.”

Events in the Be Safe, Be Seen campaign are scheduled for:                                   

  • Wednesday, Nov. 6, 4-6 p.m. Shady Grove Metro Station
  • Wednesday, Nov. 13, 4-6 p.m. Germantown Transit Center
  • Thursday, Nov. 14, 4-6 p.m. Rockville Metro Station
  • Friday, Nov. 15, 7-9 a.m. Lakeforest Transit Center
  • Tuesday, Nov. 19. 7-9 a.m. Wheaton Metro Station
  • Wednesday, Nov. 20. 4-6 p.m. Silver Spring Transit Center.
  • Thursday, Nov. 21. 7-9 a.m. Near Montgomery College Rockville campus at South Campus Drive and Campus Drive.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 26. 4-6 p.m. Shady Grove Metro Station West Entrance

Efforts that will be directed toward high school students will be at Northwest (Thursday, Nov. 7. 2-3:30 p.m.); Gaithersburg (Tuesday, Nov. 12. 2-3:30 p.m.); Seneca Valley (Thursday, Nov. 14. 7:15-8:30 a.m.); Wheaton (Friday, Nov. 15. 2-3:30 p.m.); Richard Montgomery (Friday, Nov. 22. 2-3:30 p.m.), Quince Orchard (Monday, Nov. 25. 2-3:30 p.m.) and Watkins Mill (Wednesday, Nov. 27. Noon-1:30 p.m.).

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Release ID: 19-370
Media Contact: Neil H. Greenberger 240-777-6532