(Pikesville, MD) - With three pedestrians dead over the weekend, the Maryland State Police and the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration urge both motorists and pedestrians to use common sense, take responsibility and be more courteous on Maryland’s roadways.
On Saturday, February 18, in Prince George’s County, a 46-year-old woman, attempting to cross the street, after midnight, was struck and killed in a hit and run. State Police continue to search for suspects.
On Monday evening, February 20, in Harford County, a 55-year-old man lost his life after stepping off the sidewalk into the travel portion of the roadway. He was later pronounced dead at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center.
Again on Monday evening, at 6:30 p.m. in Caroline County, a 79-year-old woman was crossing the street when she was struck by oncoming traffic. She was later pronounced dead at Easton Memorial Hospital.
“Whether on foot or riding a bicycle, you are outside of a motor vehicle and considered a pedestrian and you need to exercise caution,” said Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus Brown. “We must work together to prevent these types of tragedies involving pedestrians, which result in a higher rate of injuries and fatalities.”
On average, more than 100 pedestrians are killed each year in Maryland, and more than 2,400 pedestrians are injured. 73% of the fatal pedestrian-involved crashes occur in the dark, and of the pedestrians killed in Maryland, 40% are alcohol-impaired, according to the most recent available data.
“One out of every five people killed in traffic crashes in Maryland is a pedestrian,” said MVA Administrator John Kuo, who also serves as Governor Martin O’Malley’s Highway Safety Representative. “Both drivers and pedestrians need to follow the rules of the road. Pedestrian safety is a two-way street.”
Just five percent of pedestrians die when struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour or less. That risk jumps to eighty percent when the vehicle is traveling at 40 miles per hour.
Maryland has seen reductions in vehicular-related fatalities over the past six years, but the pedestrian fatalities are part of a growing concern. This past weekend is a horrific reminder. Preliminary data indicates there have been 59 motor vehicle related fatalities in Maryland so far this year, compared with 43 fatalities in the first two months of 2011.
“The events of this past weekend clearly show the dangers of being a pedestrian as well as a driver,” added Colonel Brown, “We encourage people to be aware and take control of their own safety, regardless of the manner in which they choose to travel.”
Safety Tips for Drivers:
LOOK FOR PEDESTRIANS walking along the roadway and at crossings and intersections.
STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS at crosswalks as required by Maryland law.
BE CAREFUL PASSING STOPPED VEHICLES. If a car is stopped at a marked crosswalk, stop and look for crossing pedestrians as required by Maryland law.
SLOW DOWN and obey the posted speed limit.
YIELD to pedestrians when turning.
USE EXTRA CAUTION AT NIGHT when it may be harder to see pedestrians attempting to cross the road.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians:
WALK ON THE SIDEWALK. If there is no sidewalk, always walk on the side of the road facing traffic.
CROSS THE STREET AT MARKED CROSSWALKS and at intersections. Many pedestrian crashes occur at midblock locations where drivers do not expect pedestrians.
OBEY TRAFFIC SIGNALS, including pedestrian signals.
BEFORE CROSSING, LOOK left, right and left again to make sure you can cross safely.
LOOK BEFORE STEPPING PAST STOPPED VEHICLES—they may be blocking your view of moving traffic.
STAY VISIBLE AFTER DARK and in bad weather. Help drivers see you by wearing retro-reflective material in low lighting conditions.
USE CAUTION AROUND TRUCKS AND BUSES backing out of parking spaces and driveways.