Tickets for Drivers and Pedestrians Jump Ten-Fold in Montgomery County

Police continue to crack down on pedestrian traffic laws in Montgomery County after two middle school girls were hit by a car walking to school Tuesday.

The children fell to the ground and received minor injuries, according to Montgomery County Police Capt. Thomas Didone.

The girls were crossing Clopper Road in the crosswalk, while cars had the right of way. The driver is facing charges.

Along Connecticut Avenue, county police have issued hundreds of tickets in just nine months to both drivers and pedestrians, which they say is one of the most dangerous roads in the county. There have been seven pedestrian fatalities so far this year, and last year, there were 13, Didone said.

At first, it was just drivers getting the tickets, but police are now handing out citations to pedestrians as well.

"We realized that pedestrians were at fault many, many times but they were rarely given a citation," said Didone.

In 2012, drivers received 42 tickets for failing to yield to pedestrians, while pedestrians received 1,219 tickets for jaywalking, according to police.

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The next year, police again shifted their focus. Drivers received 651 tickets and pedestrians received 630.

"We are equal opportunity enforcement, and that’s primarily to send the message that you have to obey the pedestrian safety laws," Didone said.

Police said they are going to keep up with this enforcement of traffic laws to keep pedestrians safe. Tuesday was International Walk to School Day, when many children were expected to be out walking.

Craig Rice, president of the Montgomery County Council, whose daughter goes to the same schools as the children who were hit Tuesday morning, said he's been asking the state highway administration to make safety improvements to that traffic light since last year.

The Maryland State Highway Administration told News4 on Wednesday that the agency does not control the signal timing at any signal in Montgomery County. Signal timing is determined by the county's Traffic Management Center.

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