Posted On: October 31, 2011

When Police Officers Deliver Tragic News : Someone Has Been Killed in a Maryland Drunk Driving Accident

In our 20+ years of work as Baltimore County, Maryland drunk driver accident injury lawyers, we've seen firsthand the terrible toll drunk driving crashes take on individuals and families. In an instant, lives are changed forever. In 2009, 162 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes in Maryland -- an increase from the 145 Md. drunk-driving fatalities in 2008*. People who survive these crashes may suffer serious injuries, including debilitating brain and spine injuries. All because someone got behind the wheel and drove under the influence of alcohol in Maryland.

Baltimore County, Md. injury attorneys understand the grief families suffer when a drunk driving crash claims the life of a loved one. Maryland law enforcers also work with families who suffer tremendous loss in these traffic crashes. In fact, police are charged with the unimaginably difficult task of informing a family that a loved one has been killed in a drunk driving crash.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) announced a new training program to help law enforcement learn how to inform families of a drunk driving related death. MADD found that police officers are often not adequately trained to deliver such unthinkable news. According to a MADD blog article:

A 2001 University of Florida study found that 41 percent of death notifiers had received neither classroom nor experiential training in death notification, although 70 percent had performed at least one notification. As a result, most victims report that this type of early interaction added grief to their experience, rather than making it easier.

MADD works to train law enforcement on compassionate ways to deliver death notifications and to offer families resources to deal with their grief. The organization recently announced plans to create an online course for Oct. 2012 that will help "train officers, first responders, social workers and medical personnel on how to compassionately deliver death notifications."

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) works to raise public awareness about preventing drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. The organization lobbies lawmakers to strengthen laws against drunk driving. MADD's National President, Jan Withers, who comes from Maryland, campaigned to lower the illegal limit of blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers from a .10 BAC to a .08 BAC, both on the national level and in our state of Maryland. MADD also puts human faces on drunk driving fatality statistics.

As Sparks, Maryland DUI / DWI accident injury attorneys, we sympathize with our clients and with every family who has suffered a loss due to a drunk driver.

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

Related Maryland Injury Attorney article:

Maryland Governor Aims to Curb Drunk Driving Traffic Accidents and Deaths (Feb. 5, 2010)


Preparing officers for a life altering task
MADD Oct. 26, 2011

Police trained in delivering tragic news
USA Today Oct. 25, 2011

Posted On: October 5, 2011

Baltimore Grand Jury Indicts Two in Hit-and-Run Pedestrian Traffic Accident Deaths

According to local media reports, a Baltimore, Maryland grand jury has indicted a man and woman in a hit and run pedestrian accident that left two young people dead.

The Baltimore Sun reports that a man and woman from Anne Arundel County, Md., have been indicted in the deaths of two teenage girls. The teenagers were struck by an automobile while attempting to cross Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near I-395 in Baltimore City. A 28-year-old Maryland man has been charged with two counts each of automobile manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death, as well as one count of driving under the influence of alcohol. A 26-year-old woman has been charged as an accessory after the fact.

Families may consult with Baltimore County accident injury lawyers when loved ones are injured or killed in auto or pedestrian accidents -- including those cases that are tried in criminal court. In Maryland, civil lawsuits may follow car accident cases where criminal charges have been filed against the drivers and other parties. Suing for damages in the Maryland Civil Court System allows families who have been hurt to seek compensation from those held responsible. (See link to related Maryland accident attorney article below for more on how civil lawsuits apply to criminal cases in traffic accidents in Md.)

According to media reports in this case, it is unclear who was behind the wheel when this fatal car crash and pedestrian accident occurred in Baltimore, Md. Both individuals charged in this case reportedly had prior speeding offenses. Police reportedly stopped the auto in question after it fled the hit and run accident scene, when police noticed the vehicle was damaged. The teen pedestrians killed were reportedly friends and neighbors.

Speeding and driving under the influence are major causes of fatal motor vehicle accidents in Maryland. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2009, of the total 547 traffic crash deaths in Maryland -- 162 were alcohol-related driving fatalities and 184 were speeding-related traffic fatalities. The combination of alcohol and speed is deadly on our Baltimore streets and surrounding highways. For 2009, there were 113 pedestrian accidents in Maryland.

The issue of hit and run traffic accidents has been studied by law enforcement and psychologists, to determine the reasons why people flee the scene of an accident. Maryland motor vehicle law requires drivers to remain at scene of traffic accidents resulting in bodily injury or death (2010 Maryland Code TRANSPORTATION, TITLE 20 - VEHICLE LAWS - ACCIDENTS AND ACCIDENT REPORTS, Section 20-102).

Related Maryland Injury Attorney article:

Baltimore, Maryland Auto Accident Liability : Civil Lawsuits vs. Criminal Cases


Indictments for pair in Md. hit-and-run that killed two
Associated Press in The Washington Post Sept. 20, 2011

1 arrested, 1 indicted in hit-and-run that killed two teens
The Baltimore Sun Sept. 20, 2011

Related Web Resource:

NHTSA Pedestrian Safety Portal