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Pr. George's Police Join Campaign To Reduce Traffic Fatalities

Prince George's County Police will join "Toward Zero Deaths" campaign to reduce traffic fatalities and keep roadways safer.

Prince George’s County is taking steps to improve driver safety and reduce the number of traffic deaths that occur in the county.

Officials announced Thursday that Prince George’s County Police have joined 30 states in a “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign, which began on Aug. 1, a month that officials say is one of the worst for traffic fatalities. 

“Toward Zero Deaths” is a national campaign that uses data to improve highway safety and reduce fatalities

John Kuo, the administrator for the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, said he hopes to “change the way Maryland thinks about highway safety.” 

The goal is to reduce deaths by motor vehicle crashes by half over the next 20 years, said Kuo, who also serves as the highway safety representative for the governor’s office.

There were 486 people killed on the road in Maryland last year, more than the amount of violent crime fatalities, according to William McMahon, president of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and police chief for Howard County.

This number may shock people in another setting, he said, but when it comes to motor vehicle fatalities, it seems acceptable. 

“They’re preventable,” McMahon said, calling the death rate unacceptable.

In January, Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark Magaw created the county’s first full-time centralized traffic enforcement squad, led by Major Pete Eliadis, of the special operations division. 

According to Eliadis, since the squad’s creation, motor vehicle accidents are down 19 percent.

“The county hasn’t focused many efforts on this in the past,” Eliadis said, adding that there are now more targeted educational efforts, using various methods including social media.

Magaw cited a few of the county’s recent efforts, including “operation roadrunner,” which targets speeding motorcycles; “smooth operator,” created to reduce aggressive driving; “click it or ticket” and “take 30 for traffic,” a program created in May that says officers will take 30 minutes per shift for traffic enforcement in targeted areas.

He said the “take 30 for traffic” program has seen results, increasing traffic stops in the county by more than 488 percent.

“Traffic enforcement can and does make a difference,” Magaw said.

According to Kuo, 62 percent of motor vehicle fatalities last year involved a driver who was speeding, not wearing a seatbelt or impaired by drugs or alcohol – or a combination of all three.

“Eighty lives per year are saved if people use seatbelts,” Kuo said.

McMahon emphasized that motor vehicle deaths affect families, as well as entire communities, and even one traffic fatality is too many.

 

 

 

Pachacutec August 09, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Sad thing is, most traffic accidents, not just fatalities, ARE preventable. If people would obey the traffic laws and use common sense (i.e., don't drive drunk, DO use seatbelts, don't use cellphones or devices for texting while driving, etc), the traffic accident/fatality rate would drop dramatically.
BigDan August 09, 2012 at 07:02 PM
"increasing traffic stops in the county by more than 488 percent." Yeah BINGO. It's about revenue generation for the county NOT safety. It's all under the guise of safety but that much of an increase has Baker and other politicians seeing dollar signs. I said this would happen long ago when they started taxing cigarrettes. They couldn't ban tobacco so they tax it out of existence. I said when they start running out of money from the dwindling cig taxes they'd go after other sources. Now they're targeting drivers just trying to get to work... And if you don't believe me take a look at the traffic lights anymore. They're all mistimed or giving green lights to streets with no cars on it. Queens Chappel and Rt 1 was really bad for a while but this is all intentional to try and get people to either A) Run the red and give a ticket or B) Anger them so they drive faster and they ticket them. The police are suppose to Protect and Serve the citizens of the county not act as money collectors for the county.
BigDan August 09, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Also: How many of those 486 deaths were ALCOHOL related? Quite a few I bet. If the county is SO interested in safety then how about sitting outside bars at 2-3 am on Sat morn and Sun? The Calvert House in Riverdale has a ton of drunks sitting in their cars in the parking lots until the drunks decide to leave. I have to leave early for work on Sat morning and I've nearly been nailed 3 seperate times by drunks that come flying out of that back lot. But the only cops in site sit at the 7-11 up the road next to Valero. Oh yea...they're REALLY concerned about safety.
Barry August 10, 2012 at 01:42 AM
"It's about revenue generation for the county NOT safety." WINNER! "They couldn't ban tobacco so they tax it out of existence. " FAIL. Why can't they ban it. The reason they "can't" is because they don't want to. Their almighty tax source would go away and they need it.
Barry August 10, 2012 at 01:43 AM
I'm pretty sure it wasn't quite a few. I bet it was very small actually. Don't get MADD to tell you that .08 is wasted or "imparied" It isn't.

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