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January 4, 2012

Pedestrian Deaths Among Hispanics in Montgomery County, Maryland Is Alarming

Pedestrian.jpgThere were 11 pedestrian deaths in Montgomery County, Maryland in 2011 and five of them victims were Hispanic. Hispanics only make up about 17 percent of the county's population, therefore; this rate is alarming. According to the AAA Midatlantic and the Latino Advocacy group Casa de Maryland, the number of Hispanics that died as a result of pedestrian accidents is disproportionate when considering that Hispanics only make up a small percent of the County's population.

According to the AAA, Viers Mill Road is one of the deadliest and most dangerous streets for pedestrians. Out of the five victims in 2011, four of them were killed on Viers Mill Road.

Phil Andres, a Montgomery County Council member says that the county will continue its efforts to reach and educate Hispanics on traffic safety, but that it is also up to the pedestrian and drivers in Maryland to be more careful and follow traffic and safety rules more carefully.

Cell Phone use should be a minimum and texting while driving is now illegal in Maryland, therefore, one should not send, receive or view text messages while behind the wheel. Also, cell phone use is only allowed when using an ear piece/bluetooth or if your vehicle comes equipt with hands-free talking. If all drivers follow these rules and more pedestrians make sure and cross at intersections and crosswalks hopefully the number of pedestrian accidents and deaths will lower for all Montgomery County Residents.

December 16, 2011

Automobile Related Fatalities Decreased in Maryland in 2010

774604_car_accident_1.jpgThe number of automobile accident related fatalities decreased by about 10 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2009 to 2010. In 2009, there were 549 automobile accident related fatalities and in 2010 there were only 493. The reason there was a decrease is because there are better air bags and anti-rollover technology in newer vehicles, drivers are using their seatbelts properly and more often and there has been an improvement in safe-driving campaigns in the state of Maryland, according to the AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Another factor for the decrease is that Maryland police officers and other law enforcement officers have been cracking down more on drunk drivers. Repeat offenders have had to install start up kits/breathalyzer machines in their vehicles that do not allow the vehicle to start/turn on if there is alcohol in their system.

Also, speed limits are followed more by drivers because of red light and speed cameras all over the state of Maryland. Therefore, drivers are respecting the speed limit in certain areas more. Another factor is that in the state of Maryland it is prohibited to use a handheld device while driving. Be it for talking on the phone, texting, viewing messages or communicating through media outlets while driving.

When you consider all these factors, one can better understand how there has been a 10 percent decrease in automobile accident related fatalities in Maryland. One can only hope that there has been a bigger decrease in 2011.

October 25, 2010

5 Tips to Keep Teen Drivers Safe

5 Tips to keeping teen drivers safe while driving:
Safe Teen Driving.jpg
1. Buckle up - make sure a seat belt is worn at all times when behind the wheel. The AAA-Mid Atlantic has done extensive research and has proven that when a lap and/or shoulder belt is used it reduces your risk of being involved in a fatal traffic accident by 45%.

2. Passenger Limit - the fewer passengers in a vehicle the more attentive the teen driver will be while driving. The fewer passengers in a vehicle the fewer distractions the teen driver has and the safer he/she will drive.

3. Maintain Speed Limit - speed limits are determined by road conditions and teen drivers must know to obey the posted speed limits, especially during inclement weather conditions.

4. Do not use cell phone while driving - In the state of Maryland, it is now illegal for anyone under the age of 18 with a provisional driver's license to talk on a cell phone while driving. MD, DC and VA also have strict laws on texting while driving. Therefore, it is best to just have the teen driver not use a cell phone for any purposes while driving; and

5. Do Not allow Driving at night - Studies by the AAA-Mid Atlantic and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that the most dangerous time for new drivers to be on the road is at night. Therefore do not allow your teen to drive at night unless its an emergency.

September 14, 2010

As Vehicle Deaths in MD Fall, Alcohol Related Deaths Increase by 12%

The number of alcohol related deaths in Maryland has increased by 12%, even as the national count declined. Non-alcohol related deaths in Maryland in 2009, declined by 7%. That means that 44 fewer people died in automobile accidents in Maryland in 2009, than in 2008.

The decline in automobile deaths may be associated with fewer drivers on the road, due to the recession and unemployment. People may also be taking less road trips and therefore there is less congestion on the roads and less chance for multiple car crashes, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In 2009, 162 people died in alcohol related accidents in Maryland, while in 2008, only 145 died. Nationally, however, more than 30,000 lives are being lost a year on our highways, and a third of those involved drunk driving.

Spokesperson for Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Shaun Adamec said, "O'Malley would continue to seek stiff penalties for drunken drivers and repeat offenders, and would support the ignition interlock bill if it is reintroduced. The Governor is also committed to investments in the first responder network, including $50 million for new medevac helicopters."

Despite safer automobiles, safer highways, better trauma facilities and more seat belts being used in the United States, Marylanders still drink and drive. Police Officers arrest over 25,000 people a year for drunk driving, in Maryland. Of these, more than 300 are during Labor Day weekend.

Spokeswoman for AAA in Maryland, Christine Delise said, "the organization will continue to advocate for more use of ignition interlock devices for repeat DUI offenders, as well as first time offenders with excessive blood alcohol content."

Lets hope that all these changes and stricter law enforcement will lower the number of both automobile accident deaths and alcohol related accident deaths, not only in Maryland, but nationwide.