Montgomery Co. officials urge caution in parking lots this holiday season

WASHINGTON – With the start of the holiday shopping season just days away, officials in Montgomery County are reminding shoppers to be alert while parking and walking to and from retailers.

Last year, one-third of of all pedestrian crashes in the county occurred in parking lots or parking garages. And of those crashes, half resulted in some type of injury and 18 percent caused severe injuries, according to the county.

Thursday, County Executive Ike Leggett announced the start of a pedestrian safety campaign.

“Pedestrian collisions in parking lots and garages are on the rise, so we are launching an education campaign this holiday season to raise awareness among drivers and pedestrians about actions they can take to avoid becoming a statistic,” Leggett said in a statement.

Police and firefighters distributed reusable shopping bags and parking lot safety tips to shoppers Thursday as part of the awareness program.

The county offers these tips for drivers to avoid hitting pedestrians:

  • Don’t drive while distracted.
  • Don’t talk or text while driving, it’s illegal in Maryland.
  • Don’t assume pedestrians can see you.
  • Use extra caution when backing out of a parking space.
  • Slow down.

Safety tips for pedestrians:

  • Don’t talk on the phone or text while walking.
  • Don’t wear earbuds or headphones.
  • Don’t walk behind a vehicle that is backing out of a space.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and constantly look for moving vehicles.

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