FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young||MVA Media Relations|
MARYLAND MOTOR VEHICLE ADMINISTRATION HOSTS HIGHWAY SAFETY MEETING TO REDUCE CRASHES AND SAVE LIVES
GLEN BURNIE, MD (April 22, 2013) – Today, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration hosted a meeting of the Strategic Highway Safety Plan's (SHSP) Executive Council. The quarterly meeting took on added importance in light of the tragic events this month when more than a dozen people were killed on Maryland’s roadways.
In the most deadly crash, four young men, including a firefighter, were killed in a head-on crash on Kent Island's Cox Neck Road on April 10th. The day before, a long time Baltimore City employee was killed when a car flipped over on him outside Baltimore City Hall.
"Traffic safety is a paramount concern in the State of Maryland," said Maryland Motor Vehicle Administrator John T. Kuo, who is also Governor Martin O’Malley's Highway Safety Representative. "In Maryland, more people die in traffic crashes each year than from violent crime. More than 500 people were killed in crashes in 2012."
The Executive Council meets to discuss Maryland's Strategic Highway Safety Plan, a statewide, comprehensive framework to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on Maryland's roads. Comprised of Maryland Department of Transportation Modal Administrators, including MVA Administrator Kuo, the council is also represented by Melinda B. Peters, State Highway Administration (SHA), Harold Bartlett, Maryland Transportation Authority, Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police and Dr. Robert R. Bass, Executive Director of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS).
"As we continue to focus on the reduction of fatalities and serious injuries due to motor vehicle crashes statewide, troopers are taking action by targeting high crash areas, said Colonel Brown. "Year round enforcement efforts aim at distracted, aggressive and impaired drivers who jeopardize the safety of our citizens."
"With summer approaching, Bay Bridge travel will be at its peak, and so will MDTA's safety efforts. Put safety first on your vacation checklist," added Transportation Authority Deputy Executive Secretary Deborah Sharpless. "Stay in your lane and resist the temptation to sightsee as you cross the Bay Bridge. Drive Smart, Arrive Safe."
Maryland has embarked on a campaign called "Toward Zero Deaths", issued by proclamation by Governor O'Malley and conducted by Maryland law enforcement and highway safety agencies, to move Maryland toward zero deaths on its highways.
"One crash that claims a life is one too many, especially since collisions are preventable. The warm weather will mean that more bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and drivers will be on the roads," said SHA Administrator Peters. "Let's look out for each other and pay attention. Together we can save lives."
To reduce motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries, Maryland is focusing not only on the issues that cause the greatest number of traffic safety problems, but on the geographic areas where traffic crashes are most prevalent. Avenues toward zero deaths on which Maryland will concentrate are distracted driving, impaired driving, aggressive driving, highway infrastructure, the wearing of seat belts and pedestrian safety.
"By focusing our efforts on these critical strategies, all of the partners are trying to prevent death and disability from crashes," said Dr. Bass "But when injuries occur, Maryland's Trauma and Emergency Medical System is in place to provide the highest level of care to those seriously injured citizens."
For a decade, Maryland has developed strategic highway safety plans. Modeled after the American Association of State Transportation Officials (AASHTO) national plan, Maryland's plan includes multiple strategies to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on its roadways. Currently, the plan calls for a data-driven, multidisciplinary approach that involves engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency medical services.