MDOT SHA LogoDrivers and Pedestrians Reminded to Stay Alert, Follow the Rules of the Road (August 25, 2023) – As students return to the classroom for the start of the 2023-2024 school year, the Maryland Department of Transportation reminds motorists, parents and students that everyone has a role in keeping the state’s youngest commuters safe when they are traveling to and from school. “We must all be prepared to see more children, school buses and vehicles on and along our roadways as schools reopen across Maryland,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Staying alert, eliminating distractions such as cellphones and following the rules of the road will help students reach school each morning and return home safely each afternoon.” According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office, there have been 377 fatalities this year on Maryland roadways as of August 23, including more than 87 pedestrians. “Our students, as they walk or bike to and from school, are among our most vulnerable road users,” said State Highway Administrator William Pines. “As students return to the classroom, drivers must stay alert and obey the posted speed limit when traveling through school zones and near bus stops.” Back to SchoolMotorists should always follow these safety measures to keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe: Stay alert and put down the phone. It’s illegal to use a handheld phone or device while driving. Always stop for pedestrians. Maryland law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and intersections. Obey traffic signs, signals and markings. Observe posted speed limits. Speeding makes it more difficult to stop for pedestrians. Enter and exit driveways slowly. Always look for pedestrians or bicyclists behind your vehicle. Stop for school buses when the flashing red lights go on and the stop sign arm is extended. Drivers in BOTH directions are required to stop if there is not a median. Allow three feet when passing bicyclists. Parents are reminded to model safe pedestrian behavior and discuss the following safety tips with their children: Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks whenever possible. Press the pedestrian signal button and wait for the walk signal to proceed. Always stop at the curb and look left, right, and left again before crossing a street. Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways. Be sure to walk – not run – when crossing the street. Pay attention and take off headphones while walking; no texting or playing on devices. Stand away from the road and traffic when waiting at the bus stop. Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting on. “With students soon returning to school, more pedestrians and bicyclists will be out on our roads, making it even more important for drivers to pay attention to the task at hand – driving,” said Motor Vehicle Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Moore’s Highway Safety Representative. “Phone down, slow down, and stay alert. It will take all of us following the rules of the road to ensure everyone, especially our children, make it to their destination safely.” Learn more from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.