Posted On: September 23, 2011

The Number-One Killer of Kids and Young Adults in Maryland

Maryland parents have a lot to think about. There's the rough economy, job security, the down housing market, and making sure their children get a good education. Then, there's the daily grind of getting kids to and from school as well as their numerous extra-curricular activities. When teens finally get their Maryland driver's licenses, it can come as both a relief to schedule-frazzled parents -- and another reason for worry.

Parents who think about their children's safety in motor vehicles on Maryland's highways, city streets, and rural back roads have cause for concern.

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Administration,

"traffic crashes are the number one killer of people between the ages of 4 to 34.… Each year traffic crashes kill more people in Maryland than homicides."

In fact, Maryland public safety officials now use the term "crashes" rather than "car accidents," "truck accidents," "motorcycle accidents," etc. -- as they believe 90 percent of motor vehicle crashes can, in fact, be prevented. The latest data posted on the Maryland MVA website (covering 2003 through 2007) estimates a five-year average of 580 fatal crashes in Md. per year.

(Note: That yearly average of "580 fatal crashes" may now be a bit high, as fatal traffic accidents have been declining in Maryland and nationally. More recent statistics for Maryland support this trend. NHTSA reported 591 total traffic deaths in Maryland in 2008 and 547 deaths in 2009.)

However the Maryland MVA goes on to report statistics that show we still have a long way to go to reach zero deaths on our state's roadways. For the year 2007…

> Maryland experienced 100,943 motor vehicle crashes
> More than 50,000 people were injured and 615 killed in those automobile crashes

As experienced Baltimore County, car crash injury lawyers, we know of both the human and the financial toll these Md. accidents take on families.

The High Costs of Car Accidents
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report this summer estimating the total cost in the U.S. due to motor vehicle accidents to be an astounding $99 billion a year -- or more than $500 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. The costs incurred during motor vehicle accidents include medical care, emergency and police services, property damage, lost productivity, and quality of life. Cars and light trucks made up 70 percent of the accidents, followed by motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents.

It's sobering to think that the number-one killer of kids and young adults in Maryland is motor vehicle crashes. Despite national and state campaigns to reduce that deadly toll, we still have more work to do to make driving in Maryland safer for everyone.

A Baltimore car accident injury attorney works with families when a loved one has been killed or injured in a Maryland car crash. An experienced personal injury lawyer is an absolute must, when dealing with the seasoned insurance executives and top-notch attorneys typically assigned to defend these most serious of claims.

Related Maryland Injury Attorney articles:

Heads Up Maryland Parents : Teen Car Accident Rates Go Down When Parents Set Road Rules

Maryland Highway Traffic Safety Gets a Green Light, But Teen Drivers Need Tougher Regulations to Prevent Auto Accidents

Sources:

Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration : Maryland Crash Statistics

NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Maryland : 2005 - 2009 (PDF)

CDC Study Finds Annual Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes Exceeds $99 Billion

Posted On: September 15, 2011

Lessons Learned Abroad: Why Auto Accident Death Rates Are Lower in Europe Than in the U.S.

There's been some encouraging news regarding U.S. traffic safety: National motor vehicle crash fatality numbers are down to the lowest levels in years (an estimated 32,788 deaths for 2010). The same holds true for Maryland auto accident deaths (547 fatalities in 2009).

The gains are attributed to a number of factors, including safer vehicles with more technology enhanced safety features; increased public awareness and usage of safety devices such as seat belts, child car seats, and motorcycle helmets; and greater enforcement of driving and traffic laws to prevent car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents from happening in the first place.

Traffic cameras are one tool that law enforcement uses to deter and catch speeders and other dangerous drivers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that Maryland is one state where traffic cameras are, in fact, discouraging drivers from speeding -- one of the leading causes of serious and fatal car crashes (see link to related articles about Maryland speed cams, below). The IIHS writes:

Institute studies in Maryland and Arizona found that the proportion of drivers exceeding speed limits by more than 10 mph fell by 70 percent and 95 percent, respectively, after cameras were introduced. Speeds also fell on roads outside the enforcement area (IIHS Status Report, Jan. 31, 2008).

As a Baltimore County wrongful death lawyer knows from work with grieving clients -- one death on the Maryland roads is one too many, and enough to change the lives of families forever. Despite the gains of recent years in preventing accidents and saving lives, the U.S. lags behind Europe in decreasing auto accident fatality rates even further. A Transportation Research Board (TRB) study that found that motor vehicle accident "deaths in most other high-income countries are dropping much faster than in the U.S."

In Europe, car accident fatality rates are lower per vehicle mile travelled, as compared to in the U.S. The study attributes the lives saved to wider acceptance and usage of traffic cameras, roadway design features such as roundabouts (rotaries), universal motorcycle helmet laws, lower illegal blood alcohol concentration levels and more frequent roadside testing for drunk driving, and a more aggressive approach to drivers who speed.

The study also noted that while U.S. federal, state, and local agencies all have a hand in driving safety programs -- European countries tend to have one central road safety agency that coordinates all programs. The IIHS quotes the TRB study authors: "No U.S. speed management program today is comparable in scale, visibility, and political commitment to the most ambitious programs in other countries." Countries beating us in the race to save lives on roadways include Australia, France, Sweden, and the U.K. Clearly there's much more work to be done in the U.S.

Related Maryland Injury Attorney Articles:

Deterring Baltimore County Traffic Accidents: Speed Camera Laws Go Into Effect (Oct. 7, 2009)

Baltimore Traffic Accident Prevention: Speed Cameras May Snap Offenders at Schools and Construction Sites (July 21, 2009)

Sources:

U.S. Trails Other Wealthy Nations on Road Safety Gains (PDF)
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Status Report, Vol. 46, No. 7, Aug. 18, 2011

Achieving Traffic Safety Goals in the United States: Lessons from Other Nations
Transportation Research Board of the National Academies


Posted On: September 6, 2011

No Job in Maryland Worth Dying For : BLS Releases Preliminary Work Related Fatality Data for 2010

Did you know that in the U.S., an average of 12 people die on the job every day? As an experienced Baltimore County work injury lawyer will tell you -- no one heads off to work in Maryland not expecting to make it home for dinner that night.

But for people in dangerous jobs, including shipyard workers, commercial truck drivers, farm and agricultural workers, and those in the construction fields, serious and fatal work accidents can and do happen in Maryland.

New Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that the U.S. as a whole showed little change in the overall number of workers killed on the job last year as compared to 2009. Preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries show that in 2010, an estimated 4,547 workers died from work-related injuries, down from 4,551 fatal work injuries in 2009. Some improvements…

--Fatal construction work injuries in the private construction sector declined by 10 percent in the past year, with an overall 40 percent reduction in construction work deaths since 2006. Fatal falls -- which account for a large number of construction related deaths, were down by 2 percent in 2010 (from 645 in 2009 to 635 in 2010).

--Homicides in the workplace were down by 7 percent to the lowest nos. ever recorded in this category, however women involved in workplace homicides increased by 13 percent.

--Transportation accidents decreased slightly in 2010 relative to 2009, but still accounted for nearly 2 out of every 5 fatal work injuries in 2010. Long haul commercial truck drivers are among those at risk of serious and fatal work-related accidents.

However some industries showed increased worker deaths. For example, fatalities in the mining industry rose last year, in part due to multiple fatality accidents, including the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana and the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion in W. Va. In addition, work-related fatalities resulting from fires more than doubled from 53 in 2009 to 109 in 2010. Those are the highest numbers since 2003.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis made the following statement: "No worker should have to sacrifice his or her life to earn a living. When the Occupational Safety and Health Act [OSHA] was passed in 1970, the National Safety Council estimated that 14,000 workers died each year on the job. Now, with a workforce that has doubled in size, the annual number of fatalities has dropped significantly. But it's not enough. We cannot relent from our enforcement of laws that keep our nation's workers safe. One worker killed or injured on the job is one too many."

That last statement is echoed by Maryland workers compensation attorneys, who work with grieving families when a loved one is injured or killed on the job in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, or elsewhere in Maryland.

Related Maryland Injury Attorney Articles:

Maryland Workers Compensation: The Top 3 Reasons Employers Tell Injured Workers Not to File (And Why You Shouldn't Listen to Them)

Maryland Car Accidents While at Work : How MD Workers' Compensation Works with a Motor Vehicle Accident Liability Claim

Is Your Maryland Workplace Unsafe? OSHA Announces Plans to Improve Whistleblower Protection Program (Aug. 4, 2011)

Source:

Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2010
United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
News Release Aug. 25, 2011