With 11 pedestrian deaths since January 2013, this year is poised to be the deadliest year for walkers in Montgomery County since 2010, when 13 pedestrians died. (Six died in 2012 and 11 died in 2011, according to data released by police.)
Montgomery County police say they're working to educate and ticket both drivers and pedestrians in an attempt to curb deaths.
"Last year we targeted high-incident areas where our information showed that pedestrians were often at fault. We believe we were successful and educating pedestrians to be safer. This year, we're focusing on high-incident areas where drivers are the focus," Capt. Thomas Didone told WTOP.
It's part of a two-year strategy, Didone said. The department ticketed 271 drivers during a series of pedestrian stings last month that planted police interns at busy intersections and tallied how many drivers didn't stop for them. (See Patch's video of one of the police stings.)
Still, some advocates for walking in the county said too often the police department's approach is to blame pedestrians.
A blog post by Ben Ross, vice-president of the Action Committee for Transit, a transit advocacy group in the county, cited a Patch.com article as an example of Didone's perceived dismissiveness towards pedestrians.
"In the meantime, the roads we have now must be made safer to walk on. That will only happen when the police stop blaming the victims and insist that drivers stop at all crosswalks, both marked and unmarked."
Tina Slater, president of ACT, told WTOP that the county needs a change of attitude to adapt to more walkers and bikers.
"There are more places like Bethesda, Silver Spring and White Flint popping up, walkable communities," Slater said. "We need to recognize that we're purposely putting more pedestrians out there and drivers need to be aware and conscious of pedestrians."
What do you think? Should police enforcement focus more on drivers or more on pedestrians? Or is everyone responsible? Tell us in the comments.