Teens to take wheel of Montgomery Co. transportation department’s social media

Adults may worry about their teenager’s use of social media, but for one day, the Montgomery County transportation department is letting kids who can’t drive yet take over its social media accounts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

The task is to focus on Vision Zero, the effort to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The goal of the international movement is to eliminate all serious and fatal collisions on the roads by 2030.

The students’ messages on transportation safety have involved some virtual training wheels, with people, such as Duwan Morris, the program manager for the county’s Vision Zero Youth Ambassador Program providing some supervision on the content. Morris will keep an eye on what goes out on social media next Monday.

Morris is excited about the prospect of kids taking charge of the social media content.

“We’re going to be talking about safety — pedestrian and driver safety — in a really different way,” Morris said. The push is to get young voices speaking out about traffic safety in their communities.

Skyler Xue is a 14-year-old high school freshman at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring. He said there will be a focus on pedestrian safety in particular, pointing out, “Most of us are not old enough yet to drive.”

Advice to drivers from Xue includes, “Watch for pedestrians in the crosswalks.” He said drivers should resist the urge to check their phones so they’re not distracted.

“In addition, they should stay under the speed limit and look out for us,” Xue said.

Morris said everyone has a role to play in trying to eliminate crashes that injure and kill pedestrians and drivers alike.

“Look out for each other,” Morris said, “We really want everybody to do their part” to reach the Vision Zero goal.

If you want to keep tabs on the messages from the Youth Ambassadors on Monday, check out @MCDOTNow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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