(February 12, 2020) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is teaming up with the Baltimore Orioles to stress the importance of pedestrian safety to Maryland’s youngest commuters.

“Ensuring the safety of students as they walk to and from school, to bus stops and through our neighborhoods is a priority,” said Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Acting Administrator Tim Smith.  “Pedestrian safety is a year-round commitment. Walk Smart assemblies are a great way to keep these important safety messages in front of our youth.  My hope is they take the lessons learned and share them with their family members and friends. We are grateful for the partnership with the Orioles and their assistance to bring awareness to safety.”


This week MDOT SHA representatives joined the Oriole Bird mascot and Orioles broadcast announcer Jim Hunter at Grange Elementary School in Dundalk for a “Walk Smart” pedestrian safety assembly.  They reviewed the rules of the road and demonstrated safe walking behaviors to students in grades pre-Kindergarten to third.

The assembly was the first Walk Smart assembly of the 2019 – 2020 school year. MDOT SHA will host nine more assemblies throughout the state this school year with the Orioles. The schools were randomly selected from more than 1,000 entries submitted on the team’s website, using the social media hashtag #bird2school, and via entries submitted on-site at outreach events.

Assemblies are part of a broader safety campaign that also encourages drivers to pay attention, slow down, and stop for pedestrians. The “Context Driven” design process under development will customize engineering solutions to high pedestrian traffic areas, using upgrades such as protected crosswalks, lower speed limits and flashing beacons.

Here are some quick “Look Up, Look Out” tips for safety:

For drivers:

  • Always stop for pedestrians.
  • Obey traffic signs, signals and markings.
  • Observe posted speed limits. Speeding only makes it more difficult to stop for pedestrians.
  • Keep your eyes on the road. It’s illegal to use a handheld phone/device or text while driving.
  • When a school bus stops, the flashing red lights go on and the stop sign arm deploys, drivers in both directions are required to stop. This is the most dangerous time as children are getting on or off the bus. It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus with its flashing red lights activated and stop arm extended.

For pedestrians:

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks whenever possible.
  • Press the pedestrian signal button and wait for the walk signal.
  • Always stop at the curb and look left, right and left before crossing a street.
  • Watch for cars turning in or leaving driveways.
  • Walk, don’t run across the street.
  • Wear light or bight colored clothing.
  • Pay attention and take off headphones while walking – no texting or playing games.

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