FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young||MVA External Affairs|
GOVERNOR O’MALLEY AND LT. GOVERNOR BROWN ANNOUNCE MARYLAND TRAFFIC FATALITIES DROP TO 52-YEAR LOW
2013 Figures Lowest Since 1961
ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 9, 2014) - Governor Martin O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown today announced the number of traffic fatalities on Maryland roadways in 2013 was the lowest in more than five decades. The 2013 preliminary figure of 466 traffic fatalities in Maryland was the lowest since 1961 when 461 highway deaths were reported. The current 2013 figure is a decrease from the 2012 figure of 511.
“From laws to combat distracted driving, like Jake’s Law, to our efforts to pass life-saving seat belt legislation, our Administration has aggressively worked to lower the senseless and preventable loss of life on our roadways,” said Governor O’Malley. “While these lower numbers indicate we’ve made progress, we must continue to work together to enhance traffic safety for Maryland motorists.”
Thanks to the collaborative work with Federal, State and local partners, and with strong support from members of our General Assembly, Maryland has implemented comprehensive and aggressive initiatives to enhance highway safety. To combat distracted driving, Maryland passed Jake’s Law this year, a bill that elevated the penalty for texting while driving to a criminal offense. Last year, Maryland passed a new seat belt law for all seated positions in a vehicle, made it a primary offense to talk on handheld cell phones while driving and increased the penalties for texting while driving.
“Maryland law enforcement and highway safety partners are actively working toward a goal of zero deaths on our roadways,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “We are encouraged by the drop in traffic-related fatalities, but there is still work to be done and we remain committed to working together to make Maryland roads safer for all residents and travelers.”
Representing the four “E’s” of highway safety: Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Emergency Responders, State and local partners convened to create a roadmap to reduce crashes over the next five years. The State’s plan to reduce roadway fatalities and injuries, known as the Strategic Highway Safety Plan, addresses six major areas of traffic safety: Aggressive Driving Prevention, Distracted Driving Prevention, Highway Infrastructure, Occupant Protection and Pedestrian Safety. Traffic crashes are one of the leading causes of death through age 44 and represent a leading cause of death throughout a person’s life.
“With 56 billion miles traveled each year on Maryland roadways, ensuring the safety of the motoring public is a major undertaking,” said Transportation Secretary James T. Smith, Jr. “The O’Malley-Brown Administration has made highway safety a top priority, and motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists must do their part to stay alert and follow the rules of the road.”
“Highway safety is one of the most important issues, we, as law enforcement, face on a daily basis,” said Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police. “Our goal is to continue to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries due to motor vehicle crashes by aiming enforcement efforts at distracted, aggressive and impaired drivers.”