WASHINGTON (WDVM) — On Monday, a local pedestrian and bicyclist safety program, Street Smart, launched its spring campaign. The program will work with authorities across the DMV to increase enforcement of traffic safety laws to decrease pedestrian fatalities as more people are getting outdoors.
WDVM spoke to Angelo Brown, a Reston, Virginia local who lost his brother in 2018 to a tragic hit and run incident.
Brown’s brother, Kenard Hawkins, was crossing the street in Prince George’s County, Maryland, when he was hit and killed by a reckless driver.
“It’s been very difficult, this happened on February 8, 2018. I was just on the phone with his dad telling him just about how we’re always trying to keep Kenard’s legacy, keep it going,” said Brown.
Street Smart reached out to Brown, giving him an opportunity to share his brother’s legacy.
“Kenard was loved, we miss him, we love him, and we just hope that we can continue to push his legacy on and just thankful for programs like Street Smart that can get awareness, get the word out,” explained Brown.
Since Street Smart works with law enforcement agencies across the DMV, you may see an increased police presence.
“Our ultimate goal is to keep people safe. To that end, Arlington County and other departments across the region are collaborating with Street Smart to make sure that people are educated in the laws of the road. Drivers are obeying the speed laws and the traffic laws, as well as to educate the walkers and joggers and people bicycling with the laws of the road, that way we’re all looking out for each other,” said Officer Tracy Bates from the Arlington County Police Department.
D.C., Maryland and Virginia have all passed legislation preventing drivers from using handheld devices at the wheel, but distracted driving is still a leading cause of pedestrian fatalities.
“I think it’s imperative that as our area is fast-moving and expanding that people pay more attention to the pedestrians on the road,” said Brown.
Brown is hopeful his message will inspire drivers to pay closer attention to the road when they’re behind the wheel.
“If I could talk to the driver, I’d say ‘my family forgives you, we just hope that you do the right thing and come forward,’ because you just never know, that person that you hit is someone’s loved one that may be potentially taken away from here,” expressed Brown.
Law enforcement will be watching for drivers who don’t follow the speed limit or fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. These violations can cost up to $500 in fines.
To learn more about Street Smart, click here.