FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young||MVA External Affairs|
With Daylight Hours Dwindling, Maryland Urges Everyone to be “Street Smart”
One out of every five traffic fatalities involves a pedestrian
GLEN BURNIE, MD (September 29, 2015) – The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) joined Baltimore County Executive, Kevin Kamenetz, and Baltimore County Police Department Chief, Jim Johnson, and Baltimore Metropolitan Council Director of Transportation Planning, Todd Lang, to call attention to a growing problem on Maryland’s roads – pedestrian and bicyclist safety. More than 100 pedestrians and bicyclists are killed every year and partners in Maryland’s Street Smart campaign are taking action.
“The number of people struck and killed on our roadways is tragic,” said Administrator Christine Nizer, Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Many crashes happen when pedestrians cross in unsafe areas or cannot be seen by drivers, and when drivers are distracted or traveling too fast to react.”
Across Maryland, there are 2,720 pedestrian-involved crashes in Maryland each year, resulting in 2,329 pedestrians injured and 105 pedestrians killed. Nearly 70 percent of all pedestrian fatalities are male and more than two-thirds of pedestrians killed in crashes are reported as being in the roadway but not in a crosswalk. With respect to the number of overall deaths, pedestrian crashes account for 3 percent of Maryland’s overall crashes, but account for 21 percent of statewide fatalities.
“The Street Smart campaign blends media and enforcement to change the dangerous behaviors that result in people being seriously injured and killed,” began Tom Gianni, Chief of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office. “We hope that people share our message, particularly on social media where word of mouth is so powerful. We want everyone to share the road and get home safely.”
To stay safe and share the road, the MVA recommends the following:
- Drivers need to slow down, expect and watch for pedestrians on the road, and stop for pedestrians and bicyclists in crosswalks. Always look twice when turning.
- Pedestrians need to be seen (wear bright-colored clothing), make eye contact with drivers before crossing, and cross at crosswalks whenever possible.
- Drivers and pedestrians should be extra alert at night or in bad weather when visibility is decreased.
- Always avoid distractions such as cell phones or texting when walking or driving.
- Have a sober ride home. Impairment by drugs or alcohol is a factor in a third of all Maryland traffic fatalities and more than 20 percent of pedestrians killed have a blood alcohol content above .08, the level at which a person is legally considered to be intoxicated.
“Our goal is to achieve zero deaths on Maryland roadway,” stated Nizer, “but we need everyone to do their part. We are all pedestrians at some point of the day, and in a crash between a driver and a pedestrian, the pedestrian ALWAYS loses.”
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Note: Maryland's Toward Zero Deaths campaign focuses on preventing impaired driving, aggressive driving, and distracted driving, while also promoting seat belt use and pedestrian safety. For more information on the Toward Zero Deaths campaign or for additional resources, please visit www.towardzerodeathsmd.com.