GLEN BURNIE, MD (September 24, 2020) – When it comes to safety on Maryland’s roads, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) has a message for drivers: don’t just talk about saving lives behind the wheel, be the driver who does it.
MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office is launching a highway safety campaign focused on safe driving behaviors – Be the Driver. The campaign depicts common situations drivers, riders and pedestrians often face and each road users’ personal responsibilities. Through the campaign, the Highway Safety Office is asking: Will you be the driver who helps eliminate deaths and serious injuries on Maryland roads?
“We are excited to kick off this new campaign to remind drivers about safe driving behavior and their responsibility on the roadway,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “Crashes are preventable. By practicing safe driving habits, each of us can save lives on Maryland roadways. It starts with each and every driver, every time we get behind the wheel.”
Elements of the Be the Driver campaign will debut over the next six months to address areas of highway safety concerns as identified in Maryland’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) and will focus on the common contributing factors of fatal crashes. These areas include Occupant Protection, Aggressive Driving, Impaired Driving, Distracted Driving, Motorcycle Safety and Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety. Each highway safety area is broken down into a sub-theme, providing more concise actions drivers, riders and pedestrians can take to protect themselves and others on the road.
Be the SOBER Driver
In Maryland, one-third of traffic fatalities are attributed to impairment by alcohol, drugs or both. Be the SOBER Driver messaging focuses on common scenarios where drivers have a decision to make – to be the sober driver and consume no alcohol or to make a plan to use a rideshare or get a ride home with another sober driver.
Be the BUCKLED UP Driver
Over the past five years, failure to wear a seat belt has been a contributing factor in about one of every five motor vehicle fatalities on Maryland roadways. Be the BUCKLED UP Driver messaging focuses on a variety of common excuses drivers and passengers use for not wearing a seat belt properly. The campaign will also emphasize the most important reason to wear a seat belt – because it saves lives.
Be the SLOW DOWN Driver
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a crash on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph or greater is more than twice as likely to result in a fatality than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 45 or 50 mph, and nearly five times as likely as a crash on a road with a speed limit of 40 mph or lower. Despite a decrease in traffic volume during the COVID-19 state of emergency, law enforcement agencies say speeding and related citations remained consistent. Be the SLOW DOWN Driver urges motorists to obey speed limits. If you have a need for speed, stick to playing video games.
Be the FOCUSED Driver
In 2019, more than one-third of fatal crashes were attributed to distracted driving. Cell phone use is one of the leading causes of distracted driving. However, other deadly distractions that take your attention from driving include eating, applying makeup, tending to children and changing radio stations. Be the FOCUSED Driver calls attention to the distraction that cell phones cause while driving and the probable consequences – a citation or a crash.
Be the LOOK TWICE Driver
The average car has multiple blind spots, which can make it challenging to spot a motorcycle. Drivers should remember to look twice and signal their intention before switching lanes, so motorcyclists have ample time to react. Be the LOOK TWICE Driver reminds drivers to take a second look for motorcycles. Motorcyclists are also reminded to practice safe riding behavior and never ride impaired.
Be the SHARE THE ROAD Driver
Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities accounted for 25% of all fatalities on Maryland roadways in 2019. Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians all have a responsibility to share the road. Be the SHARE THE ROAD Driver reminds all road users that no matter how you travel to your destination, we should work together to get there safely. This includes stopping for pedestrians, giving bicyclists 3 feet of space when passing and using crosswalks or intersections.
The ads will be featured year-round on local television, streaming music platforms, billboards, social media and digital platforms and will be coupled with a High Visibility Enforcement wave from state and local law enforcement. Be the SOBER Driver debuted in late August in coordination with the annual Bay to Beach enforcement along the Route 50 corridor.
By following the rules of the road and engaging in safe driving behavior, drivers will keep themselves, passengers, in their car and others on the road safe. Learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.