Hispanics Overrepresented In Local Pedestrian Deaths | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Hispanics Overrepresented In Local Pedestrian Deaths

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Doug Wilson: http://www.flickr.com/photos/iboy_daniel/89434093/

In Maryland's Montgomery County, Triple-A MidAtlantic and the Latino Advocacy group Casa de Maryland are sounding the alarm about the disproportionate number of Hispanics killed in pedestrian crashes.

Triple-A's John Townsend says of the 11 pedestrian deaths in the county this year, five of the victims were Hispanics -- Hispanics make up only 17 percent of the county's population.

"What we're seeing is this increase in the percentage of Hispanics who are killed on highways not only in Montgomery County, but across the region," says Townsend. He says many Hispanic immigrants aren't used to the amount of traffic on local roads, and for some, a language barrier makes it hard to understand safety rules.

Montgomery County Council member Phil Andrews says the county will continue efforts to reach out to the Hispanic community regarding traffic safety.  But he says it's also critical for individuals to simply change their behavior.

"The government can only do so much -- ultimately it's up to drivers and pedestrians to be more careful," says Andrews.

Triple-A says Viers Mill Road has emerged as a particularly dangerous road for pedestrians this year. So far four Hispanic pedestrians have been killed on the road this year, including two just this past weekend.

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