Posted On: August 29, 2010

Maryland Dog Lovers: Unrestrained Canines in Cars Pose Distracted Driving Hazards, AAA Study Says

Does your dog ride shotgun in your car, truck or SUV -- his head hanging out the window and tongue flapping in the breeze? Or is your beloved pooch planted happily on your lap as you drive on Baltimore County, Maryland streets and highways? We've all seen them go by and smiled.

But according to a new AAA report, canines cavorting in moving autos can distract the drivers and cause deadly car crashes.

The report found that only 17 percent of members surveyed restrain their dogs in their motor vehicles. The majority drive with their dogs loose in the car -- which could distract the driver and cause a traffic accident. The report also found that...

  • Unrestrained dogs become projectiles in an automobile accident: a 10 lb. dog can exert 500 pounds of force on whatever it strikes in a 50 mph accident, while an 80 lb. dog exerts 2,400 pounds of force in a 35 mph traffic accident.
  • Dogs, like small children, should not ride in the passenger seat, as they could become seriously injured if the air bag deploys (the same risk posed to small children).

The ASPCA recommends that everyone who has a pet in the car invest in a back-seat harness or crate to keep dogs, passengers and drivers safe. So Baltimore and other Maryland drivers, when we say buckle up -- that goes for everyone in the car.

Caution: Dogs behind wheel
CNNMoney.com Aug. 18, 2010

Dogs unrestrained in cars distract drivers, pose threat
USA Today Aug. 17, 2010

Related Web Resources

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

ASPCA Car Travel Tips

Posted On: August 24, 2010

Drunk Driving Prevention: Maryland Ramps Up Police Patrols and Sobriety Checkpoints through Labor Day Weekend

With Labor Day weekend fast approaching, the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA) announced that several states will be launching drunk driving prevention and law enforcement initiatives -- including Maryland.

Maryland's efforts to deter deadly drunk driving accidents over Labor Day weekend and beyond include...

o Checkpoint Strikeforce: The Maryland Highway Safety Office's six-month impaired driving enforcement and education program, which kicks off Aug. 24 in Baltimore.

o Maryland Safe Ride Solutions: Part of a national initiative designed to prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel by offering ride alternatives (in Baltimore and Landover).

o Nearly 75 % of Maryland law enforcement jurisdictions are participating in the statewide drunk driving traffic accident crackdown: 25 Maryland police departments will conduct 176 enforcement operations -- 150 saturation patrols and 26 sobriety checkpoints.

Baltimore, Maryland traffic injury attorneys see first-hand the damage and heartache that families suffer when someone gets behind the wheel after a few beers or cocktails. Maryland had more than 25,000 DUI arrests in 2006 and over 3,000 impaired driving crashes with injuries -- amounting to more than 5,000 injuries and 268 impaired driving deaths (Source: Checkpoint Strikeforce 2007 Factsheet.)

Even well-intentioned people celebrating Labor Day Weekend in Maryland -- at a family cookout or a night out on the town in Baltimore -- can make a deadly mistake if they drink and drive. Let's all end the summer on a happy and safe note.

GHSA 2010 Labor Day Crackdown

Checkpoint Strikeforce 2007 Factsheet

Related Web Resources

Maryland Highway Safety Laws
GHSA August 2010

Safe Ride Solutions

Posted On: August 16, 2010

Truckers Reality Show Reveals Hazards of Big Rig Hauling -- On Any Road

The History channel is running its fourth season of Ice Road Truckers -- a reality show set in Alaska that follows a handful of steel-nerved truck drivers hauling heavy loads over mountains and frozen bodies of water. Their work is not for the faint of heart (to say the least), nor is watching them do it. They drive all night, for hundreds of miles, through blinding snowstorms, in sub-zero temperatures, up and down ice-covered mountain roads to deliver their cargo (which is often oversized and hazardous).

Driving conditions for the ice road truckers are extreme. However the show depicts some of the same commercial truck driving hazards that truck drivers and other motorists experience here in the Lower 48. Common causes of highway truck accidents in Maryland and elsewhere in the U.S. include:

  • Driver Fatigue (including driving without mandatory rest breaks)

  • Faulty or poorly maintained equipment

  • Difficulty breaking or swerving in time to avoid other motorists

  • Improperly secured cargo that may shift or become loose

Large Truck Accident Statistics
As Baltimore County, Maryland truck accident injury lawyers know, you don't have to be driving on an icy mountain precipice to be involved in a deadly highway truck accident.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that in 2006, large trucks were involved in 368,000 traffic accidents. In those commercial truck accidents, 4,995 people were killed and 106,000 were injured. The DOT defines "large truck" as one that carries a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds.

The Maryland Department of Transportation reported that in 2003, there were 8,000,000 (that's 8 million) registered large trucks in the United States -- a figure expected to grow 70% to 80% in the next two decades.

Sources:
U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Commercial Motor Vehicle Facts
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, November 2007

Maryland Dept. of Transportation, Truck Parking Study, Jan. 2005

Related Web Resources

History.com: Ice Road Truckers

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Rules & Regulations

Maryland Department of Transportation: Commercial Vehicle Operations

Posted On: August 10, 2010

Anne Arundel County & Western Md. Car / Pedestrian Accidents Leave 3 Dead, Others Injured

It was a deadly weekend on the roads in Anne Arundel County and Western Maryland. According to The Baltimore Sun, two traffic accidents involving cars hitting pedestrians occurred on Sunday, leaving three people dead and several others with serious injuries. Details on these Maryland pedestrian accidents are as follows....

The Sun reported that in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, a car went off the road and struck three members of a family who were resting on the roadside from a bicycle ride. The family members were taken to area hospitals with injuries and the car driver died.

A second weekend traffic accident occurred in the Western part of Maryland when a car reportedly drove into a crowd of people who were lingering after church. In that Maryland car - pedestrian accident, two people were killed and a third hospitalized.

When questions of liability arise in Md. pedestrian traffic accident cases, families may consult an Anne Arundel County accident lawyer to determine whether they have a case.

Maryland & U.S. Pedestrian Accident Statistics

In 2008, 116 Maryland pedestrians died in traffic accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that pedestrian fatalities caused by traffic accidents have declined over the past 10 years: Nationally, 4,378 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2008, a 16 percent decrease from 1998. Young children and seniors (over age 65) are at particular risk, as are pedestrians who cross the street at night and/or not in a crosswalk. In a large percentage of pedestrian traffic fatalities, alcohol may be involved for either the driver or the person(s) on foot. (Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Data 2008 : Pedestrians)

Police continue to investigate the cause of both fatal Maryland traffic accidents involving pedestrians.

Cars plow into pedestrians in Arundel, Western Maryland
The Baltimore Sun Aug. 9, 2010

Related Web Resources

NHTSA Pedestrians Portal

Federal Highway Administration: Pedestrians & Bicycle Safety