Maryland’s traffic safety community has a clear, unified mission – to move the state Toward Zero Deaths. There have been many strides made toward achieving this goal, but there have also been challenges that need to be faced in order to continue making progress.
First and foremost, traffic safety issues must increasingly become a part of the public conscience.
- According to the 2012 Uniform Crime Report, Maryland experienced 387 murders in 2013, a figure that was easily eclipsed by the more than 460 fatalities that occurred on our roadways.
- There were 27,720 violent crimes reported in 2013, many of which received significant media attention while many of the more than 42,000 injuries that occurred as a result of traffic crashes were largely kept out of the public eye.
Traffic crashes are tragic, preventable occurrences and making the public realize this fact, in effect stigmatizing traffic crashes in the same manner as crime, is the only way to elevate the importance of traffic safety in the public eye.
The Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) Executive Council is committed to maintaining a focus on traffic and the impact that crashes have on our everyday lives. This commitment shows in the outreach to the public, the direction given to traffic safety program management, and the dedication shown to partners throughout the state. We are fortunate to have partners that have embraced the absolute need to elevate the importance of traffic safety. Maryland’s police community is dedicated to enforcing traffic laws and also partnering at statewide and local levels in education and communications initiatives that maximize the effectiveness of the enforcement itself. The state’s network of public health officials and emergency medical services personnel has been progressive and has readily embraced the ideals set forth in Maryland’s SHSP. Engineering partners throughout Maryland have steadfastly worked to improve roadway conditions and minimize the potential for, and the impact of, traffic crashes. All of the pieces are in place to continue making great strides in not only elevating the importance of traffic safety, but to also continue driving down the number of traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities.
There have been great strides in reducing traffic fatalities in Maryland, but the mission will not be over until all deaths on our roadways have been eliminated. The unified approach that comes from Maryland’s Toward Zero Deaths program has charted the course to reach that goal of zero roadway fatalities. Our message is very simple – “Every life counts” – and that simple phrase guides the actions of the SHSP Executive Council and all of our partners. Maryland has embraced the philosophy of moving Toward Zero Deaths on our roadways and we are firmly committed to the attainment of that goal.