WASHINGTON — Metropolitan Police are being directed to step up traffic enforcement around schools, in the wake of a spike in pedestrian deaths in 2021, including two children killed and several others struck by vehicles.
Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee III announced Monday that MPD’s Traffic Safety and Specialized Enforcement Section has developed a plan to target traffic enforcement and education in the areas around schools in each police district. At least seven MPD officers will be assigned focused enforcement and education around school zones.
The safety enforcement will take place three hours prior to school arrival time and three hours after dismissal time. Officers will be focused on distracted driving, speeding, stop sign violations, and pedestrian violations.
School Resource Officers will distribute traffic safety literature to roadway users in the school areas to remind residents to slow down and follow the rules of the road.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she believes the pandemic has affected driving habits for the worse.
"There weren't a lot of cars on the road for some period of time and now people are driving so much faster," Bowser said. "Stop speeding! Stop running stop signs!"
Among the incidents in 2021 was the Oct. 6 injury of a father and his two daughters in an incident in SE Washington. The family was struck at the intersection of Wheeler Road and Mississippi Avenue on "Walk Your Kids to School Day" in the District.
Pedestrian fatalities of all types are up to 15 so far, according to police. The total in 2020 was 13.