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Maryland saw decline in roadway fatalities, but unsafe driving still a major problem

distracted driving
Posted at 2:04 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 18:22:49-04

GLEN BURNIE, Md. — Many states across the country experienced an increase in roadway fatalities last year, but Maryland saw a 3% decline compared to their 573 fatalities in 2020.

The state still had 519 total crashes and 557 fatalities in 2021.

According to a Road Safety Attitudes and Behavior survey conducted on behalf of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Maryland drivers consider unsafe driving a major problem. However, the same factors contribute to unsafe driving: speed, distractions, impairment by alcohol and drugs and lack of seat belt use.

Speeding and Aggressive Driving:

  • About 41% of drivers surveyed admitted to driving 15 MPH or more over the speed limit on a highway
  • Another 37% of drivers admitted to driving 10 MPH or more over the speed limit on residential

The probability of death or serious injury grows with impacts at higher speeds. A pedestrian or bicyclist struck by a driver driving 40 MPH is eight times more likely to die than someone struck at 20 MPH.

Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety:

  • 57% of those who took the survey don't feel comfortable crossing roadways
  • However, 37% said they use a crosswalk when available
  • 76% of cyclists who ride along roadways indicated in the survey that they follow the same rules that they would in a car.
  • 61% reported wearing bright or reflective clothing and/or outfitting their bikes with lights for riding in poor visibility situations.

In 2020, 88 pedestrians were killed at locations other than crosswalks, including walking on the shoulder, in the median, or at an intersection not within the crosswalk.

Seat Belt Use:

  • Two thirds of Marylanders said they always wear a seat belt while riding in the back seat of a vehicle.
  • Those who don't wear seat belts increase the risk of injury or death to others in the vehicle by 40%.
  • That percentage increases to 8% when the driver was traveling within 5 miles or 10 minutes of home.

Distracted Driving:

  • Distracted driving contributes to more than one-third of motor vehicle fatalities in Maryland.
  • This includes talking on a cell phone, skipping through music and using the GPS while driving.

Impaired Driving:

  • Nearly 800 people have people have been killed in crashes involving an impaired driver.
  • 53% of drivers listed fear of arrest as their decision to drive sober.
  • Yet, more than 17,000 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence in Maryland last year.