DC to target speeding, distracted drivers around schools

After two child pedestrians died this year, D.C.’s mayor said Monday the city is expanding its Vision Zero plan to include enforcement around school zones.

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the partnership between the D.C. police and D.C.’s Department of Transportation to target aggressive, distracted and dangerous drivers in proximity to school zones.

“Stop driving aggressively; stop using your phone; stop texting. It’s not that important,” Bowser said at a news conference.

The two agencies will determine where to deploy officers by overlaying recent crash data and neighborhood complaint calls with school zones to identify seven priority areas. They’ll change regularly.

Police Chief Robert Contee said the department “will also deploy officers in each police district to specifically conduct traffic enforcement in the area around school three hours prior to students’ arrival time, two hours during, and three hours after school dismissal times. Officers will focus on distracted driving, speeding stops on violations.”

The mayor noted how traffic patterns have changed since COVID-19 began, when fewer drivers were on the roads.

“People are driving so much faster and taking too many chances. They’re using their phones and texting,” Bowser said. “Driving is a privilege. These cars are thousands of pounds when they get moving. They’re deadly weapons. So we have to treat them like that.”

The enforcement, which is already underway, is part of the District’s Vision Zero initiative to reach zero traffic deaths by 2024.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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