Montgomery County Public Schools will be back in session on Monday, August 27, and Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, along with the officers of the Montgomery County Police Department, want to encourage all community members to continue to make the safety of our children a top priority.
In an effort to maintain the safety of children who walk to school and to help manage school-related traffic, the department employs approximately 165 crossing guards that cover approximately 130 elementary schools and 15 middle schools. Their primary responsibility is to facilitate the safe crossing of students to and from school each day in all weather conditions. Stationed at major intersections and crossing points near schools, these crossing guards are trained and certified in traffic and pedestrian safety. Each one wears a highly-visible, bright yellow, reflective safety vest over the uniform of a white shirt and tan pants.
To supplement the crossing guards, there are approximately 6500 school safety patrols in the county who help keep fellow students safe. These boys and girls are selected by teachers and principals and are assigned to work with adult crossing guards and on school buses. They can also be seen on the street corner assisting school children crossing intersections and setting a good example for pedestrian safety. Look for those boys and girls out there in the bright yellow belts.
To help reduce speeding in school zones, our Automated Traffic Enforcement Unit will deploy a fleet of mobile speed-camera vans rotating between schools from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. This will be in addition to the 21 fixed speed camera sites already in place in school zones across the county.
Some students will be riding bicycles to school. Police remind bike riders that they must follow all traffic rules and signs, i.e. stop signs and traffic lights. By law, all children under the age of 18 must wear a bicycle helmet when riding or being carried on a bicycle while riding on a public street, right-of-way, or on a bicycle path.
Many students will be riding buses to school, and all drivers are strongly reminded that they are required to stop at least 20 feet from school buses that are stopped with flashing red lights. It is also recommended that adults accompany young children to bus stops, and remain with them until the bus arrives.
Montgomery County Police remind drivers that it is very important to obey the posted speed limit and pay close attention to their surroundings at all times.
Safety Tips for Parents, Motorists, and Children
- Expect delays near schools. Know your route, start early, and drive the posted speed limit.
- Motorists not involved in dropping off or picking up students should consider adjusting their route or schedule in order to avoid arrival and dismissal traffic in front of schools.
- Park only in lawful areas. Parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk is against the law and can obstruct visibility for both pedestrians and motorists.
- Unload school children onto the sidewalk or the right side of the vehicle. Unloading school children into a traffic lane could put a child in harm’s way.
- Instruct children to remain alert and look left, right, then left again before crossing the street.
- Pedestrians should not use cell phones to talk or text or wear headphones when crossing the street.
The start of school is also a good time to remind children of basic safe practices. Children should not speak to strangers and, once they are home, they should not open or answer a knock at the door if an adult is not present without first determining who is there. Children should have a list of parents’, neighbors’, and/or relatives’ phone numbers that they can call for assistance. Children should also know when it is appropriate to call 9-1-1 and 301-279-8000, the police non-emergency number.
As we make school safety a top priority, County police remind motorists that the violations of these Maryland Transportation Articles may results in the following penalties: speeding in a school zone incurs a fine of up to $1,000.00 and 5 points on your license and passing a school bus with flashing red lights incurs a fine of $570.00 and 3 points on your license. Parents who bring their children to school or pick them up after school are reminded to obey the “No Parking, No Stopping, and No Standing” signs in a school zone. A violation of these signs incurs a fine of $50.00.