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Are Maryland roads becoming more dangerous for pedestrians?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

The Maryland roads are getting increasingly risky for people across the board whether they are drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists or pedestrians. Much of the danger stems from the way in which drivers are behaving. Distraction, recklessness, use of intoxicating substances before getting behind the wheel and drowsiness all play a role in auto crashes with injuries and death.

For pedestrians, despite efforts to enhance safety, there is always a looming chance of being seriously hurt or losing their lives after being hit by an automobile. Recently, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association released its numbers for 2023. There were worrisome signs for Maryland and people should be aware of them.

National reduction in pedestrian deaths glosses over Maryland pedestrian risk

According to the GHSA report, there has been an improvement in pedestrian safety with 5% fewer people losing their lives in 2023 when compared to 2022. Still, that needs to be put into its proper context. Since 2010, the number of pedestrian deaths has risen by more than three-quarters.

As for Maryland, there were 161 pedestrian fatalities in 2023. It was the worst year for pedestrian fatalities since 2007. The prior year, there were 137 such deaths. It was the second highest increase in the nation. Much of the blame is placed on the lack of pedestrian infrastructure in many rural areas of the state. Other factors include the speeds at which vehicles are moving. Drivers are exceeding the speed limits to a troubling degree. Even though legislators, law enforcement and regulatory agencies know about the problem and are taking steps to mitigate it, it continues.

One strategy that is being put in effect is the Complete Streets Policy. Its objective is to enhance safety with an improved infrastructure to make the roads friendlier to bicyclists and pedestrians.

This is directly linked to the Vision Zero program in which the objective is to prevent all severe injuries and fatalities on the roads by 2030. A fundamental aspect of the program is to identify where the dangers lie on state roads and focus on safety in those specific areas with a gradual statewide expansion of the program.

Despite safety initiatives, pedestrians remain at risk

The pedestrian fatality numbers are troubling in Maryland. Although there are ongoing initiatives to improve the landscape for pedestrians, the challenges persist for myriad reasons. If a person is unfortunate enough to be in a pedestrian crash, there are important steps to take in the immediate aftermath.

The medical costs, lost time on the job and long-term implications can be financially and personally expensive with questions as to what the future will hold. Having guidance that understands how to assess the situation, determine an effective course of action and move forward can make a major difference in reaching a positive outcome. Given the ramifications of a pedestrian accident and how vulnerable these individuals are, it is imperative to know what can be done to make a full recovery and to act as soon as possible with help from experienced people.