Posted On: April 28, 2009

Maryland Construction Accidents: Stricter Crane Regulations May Save Lives

With the goal of reducing Md. construction injuries and deaths, the state has added teeth to what are already among the strictest crane regulations in the country.

New regulations went into effect for Maryland earlier this month following several serious construction crane incidents, such as a fatal Anne Arundel County accident that occurred in April 2008. According to a Baltimore news report, workers in Annapolis Towne Centre were dismantling an end section of a crane when an accident occurred, crushing a construction worker between two sections of the crane 200 feet up. Another worker was injured.

The new regulations will require all construction workers operating cranes as well as those who load and signal them to receive intensive training on the equipment, to avoid serious and possibly fatal Maryland construction accidents. Employers are now required to carry out daily inspections and to keep training records. Maryland Labor and Industry Commissioner Ronald Julius told a local news outlet that state inspectors will be checking on projects where construction cranes are in use.

A Maryland workers compensation lawyer helps workers who've been injured on the job and their families determine whether the accident occurred due to negligence on the part of the employer. Construction is an industry fraught with hazards: Of all industry sectors, construction jobs rank with the most work-related deaths. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one of every five work-related deaths occurs in construction.

Maryland Construction Worker Deaths and Crane Accidents
NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) reports that while construction employs about 6% of the country's workforce, the industry comprises 20% of work-related fatalities. In 2006, the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) department reported 34 deaths in the Maryland construction industry. Federal and state regulations are put in place to keep these hard workers safe on the job. We hope the new Maryland crane regulations will do just that.

Stricter Crane Regulations In Effect April 7, 2009

Related Web Resources

Maryland Crane Safety Regulations

Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)

OSHA: Crane, Derrick, and Hoist Safety

Posted On: April 20, 2009

Officer Pleads Guilty in Fatal Harford County Drunk Driving Crash on Maryland I-95

A county police officer involved in a Harford County hit-and-run accident that took a man's life may face up to seven years in prison. Officer Dane Hall, 29, of Perryville, Maryland, plead guilty to negligent homicide while intoxicated in addition to leaving the scene of an accident in the death of Antonio Martinez, 28.

In this unfortunate case -- as we Maryland car accident lawyers have seen time and time again -- the lives of not one but two families are changed forever when someone's alcohol-impaired driving causes a car accident that takes someone's life.

According to news reports, Hall admitted he had been drinking with several other police officers at an after-shift party the night of January 27, 2008. Hall left the party in the early morning hours of Jan. 28 and drove his Nissan Pathfinder into the back of Martinez's Ford Explorer on I-95 near the Maryland House rest stop. The impact sent the Explorer spinning out of control before it flipped over and landed in the southbound lane.

Officer Hall claimed that though he thought he hit something and knew his airbag deployed, he didn't see anything and drove his vehicle home. State Police found his license plate in the wreckage, linking Hall to the fatal accident. Hall will be sentenced July 24 and could face up to 7 years in prison -- the maximum sentence allowed in the plea agreement with the state.

This case of a Harford County, Maryland police officer convicted in a fatal hit-and-run drunk driving accident shows that alcohol-impaired driving can affect anyone, regardless of their profession.

Harford County, Maryland Car Accident Statistics
According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) data gathered for the year 2007...

  • Of the 29 traffic fatalities in Harford County, 6 deaths involved alcohol-impaired driving.
  • In comparison, Harford County drunk-driving deaths were lower than in neighboring Baltimore County, which saw 31 traffic fatalities due to alcohol-impaired driving (urban areas in Maryland have a higher traffic fatality rate than in rural areas). In nearby Carroll County, 1 of the 21 traffic deaths was due to drunk driving.
  • The state of Maryland had 614 traffic fatalities during that year, and of those, 179 deaths were attributed to drunk driving.

County officer guilty in fatal wreck April 18, 2009

NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts for Maryland 2003-2007 (searchable by county)

Related Web Resources

Harford County, MD, Government Home Page

Maryland State Police

Posted On: April 14, 2009

Baltimore County Motor Vehicle Accidents: Fatalities Down for Cars & Trucks (But Up for Motorcycles and DUIs)

Last week, NHTSA announced that projected numbers of motor vehicle fatalities across the U.S. in 2008 will fall to a near 50-year low (the actual counts will be released this August). A continued drop in Maryland traffic accident deaths is expected, in keeping with trends across the country. Let's look at some Maryland car crash statistics available today:

  • In 2007, a total of 614 people died in motor vehicle accidents in Maryland, down from 650 fatalities in 2003.
  • Of those 614 fatalities, 179 involved alcohol-impaired driving and 216 involved speeding.
  • More people died in urban traffic accidents (369 deaths) as compared to rural locations (245 fatalities) in Maryland in 2007.

Baltimore County, Maryland Traffic Accident Statistics
The NHTSA website allows visitors to research Maryland traffic deaths by years, county, and type of accident. Let's look at Baltimore County, for example.

  • In 2007, Baltimore County traffic accidents caused 72 fatalities, as compared to 86 deaths in 2003.
  • Single-vehicle crashes caused 45 deaths in 2007, down from 51 deaths in 2003
  • Large truck accidents caused 6 deaths in 2007, down from 8 deaths in 2003
  • 17 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents in 2007, down from 21 in 2003
  • Motorcycle crash fatalities increased, up from 7 deaths in 2003 to 13 deaths in 2007
  • Alcohol-impaired driving deaths also went up, from 24 in 2003 to 31 in 2007

Public safety programs and laws measure their effectiveness with statistics. So any time the numbers of traffic fatalities go down, we know something is working. But what we've also learned as Baltimore County car accident lawyers is that behind the stats are people. For every single traffic fatality there is a story of somebody going somewhere who didn't make it. Fewer deaths on Marylands roads and highways is always good news. But like we've said before, even one motor vehicle accident death is too many when it's someone you love (or you).

NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts for Maryland 2003-2007

NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts for Baltimore County 2003-2007

Related Web Resource

Baltimore County, MD, Government Home Page

Posted On: April 7, 2009

Maryland Car Accident Statistics: NHTSA Reports Fatalities Down to 1961 Level

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) predicts that the nation's motor vehicle traffic fatalities for 2008 will have declined to a level not seen since 1961. NHTSA projects that the total number of traffic-related fatalities for the U.S. in 2008 will be 37,313 deaths -- down 9.1 percent from the 2007 statistic of 41,059 fatalities. (NHTSA will report the actual numbers in August 2009.)

NHTSA attributes the decline in car crash deaths to a number of factors, including...

  • improvements in motor vehicle technology

  • tougher enforcement of seat belt laws

  • law enforcement efforts to get repeat drunk-driving offenders off the road

  • an increase in use of public transportation

  • fewer people driving due to higher gas prices and the economy

Maryland Car Crash Fatalities
Maryland is among 16 states to achieve a 90% or more rate of seat-belt use along with our neighbors Delaware and District of Columbia. Michigan had the highest seat-belt use rate of 97%, while Wyoming, Massachusetts and New Hampshire had the lowest rates, with less than 70 percent of drivers in those states buckling up.

In 2007, there were 614 Maryland car crash deaths (NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts, Maryland 2003-2007). In the new report, Maryland, DC and Delaware, which are in NHTSA region 3, are expected to see a 12% decline in fatalities in 2008 as compared to 2007 -- one of the highest rates of car crash fatality decline in the country. Interestingly, the region with the highest expected decline in car crash fatalities -- region 1, New England, expected to see a decline of 14% -- has some of the same states with the lowest rate of seat belt use. Region 6, which includes Texas and surrounding states, is expected to have the lowest decline of just a little over 1% -- but a decline in deaths nonetheless.

Of course, even one motor-vehicle related death due is too many if it's you or someone in your family. A Maryland car accident lawyer works with bereaved families to relieve them of the burden of the insurance claims process and when called for, litigation. The new NHTSA statistics show that safety programs, law enforcement, and improvements to motor vehicle equipment and technologies do save lives. But driving defensively is always wise -- it was in 1961, and it still is today in 2009.

Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2008
NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts March 2009

Traffic deaths decline as more people are buckling up April 6, 2009

Related Web Resource

Newest safety technology: Cars that avoid crashes
San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News March 20, 2009