GLEN BURNIE, MD (January 28, 2021)– The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), together with other state and local agencies, law enforcement partners and others, announce the release of the 2021-2025 Maryland Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), the latest update of the five-year plan to identify strategies and actions to eliminate fatalities on all Maryland roadways.
Every day in Maryland, an average of 318 police-reported traffic crashes occur, resulting in more than 133 injuries. Even worse, one person is killed every 16 hours as a result of traffic crashes, and from 2015 to 2019, more than 2,600 people died in crashes.
Many of these tragedies are preventable. In 2019, Maryland officially established the state’s traffic safety goal as zero vehicle-related deaths and serious injuries on Maryland roadways by 2030. The Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) will guide Maryland’s highway safety efforts to reach that goal of zero fatalities.
In early 2020, virtual focus groups were held with stakeholders across the state to solicit input on strategies and action steps for the SHSP. Following these meetings, the plan was developed with collaboration between representatives of MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA), MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA), the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), Maryland State Police (MSP), Maryland Department of Health (MDH), Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) and others.
“Highway safety is everyone’s responsibility, and the 2021-2025 Maryland Strategic Highway Safety Plan reflects that collaboration and commitment,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “The plan takes every aspect of safety into account for all users of our roadways. Moving forward, the partnerships that built this plan will help carry it through and help Maryland achieve its goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries. ”
The 2021-2025 Maryland SHSP uses the “four Es” – education, engineering, enforcement and emergency medical services – as the foundation of lifesaving efforts to address major areas of traffic safety: aggressive, impaired and distracted driving, highway infrastructure, seat belt use, and pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
“This SHSP takes into consideration every element of Maryland’s transportation network, from recent developments in evolving traffic patterns to crash data resulting from COVID-19,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer. “While the state has made strides in reducing fatalities and serious injuries, there is still more work to be done. We’re looking forward to working with our partners to implement this multi-faceted approach to reach zero fatalities.”
Maryland has always used a multi-disciplinary approach to prevent crashes and minimize severity, including strategies that address roadway design, driving behaviors, technology and policies. Zero Deaths Maryland incorporates principles from Vision Zero and other proven safety programs to consider how interaction of road users and road design is critical to eliminate highway deaths.
The SHSP addresses safety specific to Maryland roadways across urban, suburban and rural communities. For example, in many areas the roadway use changes when farm equipment needs to travel alongside other vehicles. In a case like this, crash prevention measures – such as fixed and mobile road signs warning of slow-moving vehicles and outreach campaigns – will be among strategies used to raise awareness of unique needs of rural communities and farm operations on Maryland roads.
The SHSP also looks to the future, including development of advanced driver assistance technologies and the continued introduction of connected and automated vehicles (CAV). The state has been considering these initiatives through its Maryland CAV Working Group, which is supported by MDOT, MSP, private companies and more than 300 stakeholders in academia and local and state agencies. The SHSP considers technologies such as enhanced sign and pavement markings – visible to human and machine operators – real-time traffic data sharing and advanced speed reduction technologies. The SHSP also supports in-vehicle technologies that assist crash prevention and improve occupant safety.
Implementation of the Maryland SHSP will be led by traffic safety professionals from state and local government and private industry. The SHSP Executive Council, composed of members of the participating agencies, is tasked with developing and implementing the SHSP. A Steering Committee is responsible for day-to-day SHSP leadership. The plan includes a suite of Emphasis Areas, and the chairs of these areas will coordinate efforts and progress with a team of professionals who will follow through and evaluate action steps.
Local jurisdictions have been encouraged to develop a local SHSP that suited to their specific concerns and needs, and Metropolitan Transportation Plans have been developed in coordination with the SHSP. The plan also works with – and benefits from – other initiatives such as the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Safety Improvement Program, MDOT SHA’s Context Driven Guide, the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and MDTA’s Strategic Plan for CAVs.
The SHSP went into effect on January 1, 2020, and will guide the state’s Zero Deaths Maryland efforts through 2025. Learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.