Pedestrians cited 5 times more than cars

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Local,Maryland,Transportation,Kate Jacobson

For every one car cited in Montgomery County for a street violation, five pedestrians are cited in areas where there are high incidents of pedestrian collisions, according to county police data.

In 2013, police have issued 2,001 citations and 715 warnings to pedestrians and drivers in high-incident areas. Pedestrians make up about 1,850 of those citations, whereas cars total about 90. Police said they couldn't determine fault in about 60 citations.

The most citations have been handed out on Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring, where 819 citations have been issued by police. Other high citation areas include Randolph Road and in Four Corners in Silver Spring, which had 420 and 458 citations, respectively.

However, other county data shows that, of the 433 collisions involving pedestrians and vehicles in 2012, 59 percent of the time drivers were found to be at fault.

Jeff Dunckel, pedestrian safety coordinator in the county's Department of Transportation, said the county has seen the number of collisions where the pedestrian is at fault dropping since the county started its pedestrian safety initiative in 2010. He attributed some of that to the county's efforts to educate pedestrians on how to be alert while walking.

But some advocates say the county's approach on targeting pedestrians and not drivers isn't necessarily working. Tina Slater, president of the nonprofit Action Committee for Transit, said the county appears to be focusing on pedestrians acting defensively instead of drivers breaking the law.

"Speeding and distracted drivers are the biggest causes of pedestrian crashes," she said. "Maybe pedestrians are the easier ones to capture and educate because they're standing on the sidewalks or they're sitting in schools. But how do we educate drivers?" - Kate Jacobson

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