Be aware of all those little pedestrians as school resumes, police warn

GAITHERSBURG, Md. — “We want drivers to look out for our kids.”

That’s the message from area police as more school systems begin classes in coming days.

“Traffic patterns are changing. Roads are going to get more congested. You have to build in more time [for your commute],” said Capt. Thomas C. Didone, Montgomery County police director of traffic.

“We don’t want to have a tragedy on our roadways.”

According to Didone, common violations in school zones include:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving while talking on cellphones
  • Failure to buckle every passenger into seat belts
  • Illegally passing stopped school buses

To parents who drive their children to school, Didone advised parents to follow their school’s guidelines and instructions for designated drop-off areas.

“Because they’re all engineered for keeping our kids safe,” Didone said. “Do not stop in the middle of the road and let your kid run across the street because you don’t want to get in the line.”

Speeding and inattention are two leading causes of crashes. So Didone requested that everyone slow down, put down their phones and pay attention.

“In Montgomery County, more people die on our highways than die feloniously,” he said. “And sometimes, it’s twice as many.”

In Montgomery County, classes resume on Sept. 5. See the full list of back-to-school start dates here.

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