Monday, April 7, 2014

Nationally, Accident Rates Improving for Older Drivers

Nationally, accident rates improving for older drivers
 
Safety researchers expressed concern a decade ago that traffic accidents would increase as the nation's aging population swelled the number of older drivers on the road. Now, they say they've been proved wrong. Today's drivers aged 70 and older are less likely to be involved in crashes than previous generations and are less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they do crash, according to a study recently released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That's because vehicles are getting safer and seniors are generally getting healthier. The marked shift began taking hold in the mid-1990s and indicates that growing ranks of aging drivers as baby boomers head into their retirement years aren't making U.S. roads deadlier. Traffic fatalities overall in the U.S. have declined to levels not seen since the late 1940s, and accident rates have come down for other drivers as well.

(Source: Boston.com (Boston Globe newspaper), March, 2014, as reported in the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety eNewsletter, March 14, 2014.)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Bicycle Safety Class April 12 Sponsored by Bethesda TMD

Class will help bicyclists become more comfortable biking on city streets
Class will help bicyclists become more comfortable biking on city streets

Bethesda Transportation Solutions, which operates the Bethesda Transportation Management District, and the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) are holding a bicycle safety class on confident city cyclingon Saturday, April 12, 11 am-2 pm. It will be at Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, 5020 Battery Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814. 

Registration is free to the first ten students to arrive within 15 minutes prior to class and to Capital Bikeshare members. The fee is $5 to WABA members and $10 to all others. Registration is online at WABA's website

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dale Drive Sidewalk Completed

The Division of Transportation Engineering has recently completed construction of 1900 feet of new sidewalk along the north side of Dale Drive, from Mansfield Road to Hartford Avenue in Silver Spring. This project was part of the Transportation Improvements for New Schools program, which funds improvements to serve County public schools. The program has previously constructed sections of other sidewalk along Dale Drive from Wayne Avenue to Piney Branch Road. This latest sidewalk provides connectivity to the Sligo Creek Elementary School, the Silver Spring International Middle School, as well as to downtown Silver Spring, Sligo Creek Park, and bus stops.

The project involved construction of significant retaining walls more than 300 feet long and ranging in height from three to 11 feet. Also part of the project was a storm drainage system and gas, sewer, and water utility relocations.

The contractor was Banneker Ventures LLC. Significant construction work was undertaken by subcontractorM. Luis Construction Company, a local woman-owned business recently honored by the President when he visited their asphalt manufacturing plant in Rockville.

For more information, contact Shirley Reeves-Collette, Project Manager, at 240.773.3412 or by email. For budget details on the project, see the Office of Management and Budget website. For information on transportation construction projects, visit the Division of Transportation Engineering's website.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

County Plans Traffic Calming for Plyers Mill Road


On Friday, March 21, 2014, Montgomery County Department of Transportation attended a community meeting organized by members of the Kensington Heights Civic Association, McKenney Hills - Carroll Knolls Civic Association, and Plyers Mill Road residents.  At the meeting, Montgomery County officials Jeff Dunckel, Seifu Kerse, and Rick Earp discussed with residents plans for improving pedestrian safety by constructing traffic calming features, sidewalks, and enhanced pedestrian crossings on Plyers Mill Road between Drumm Avenue and Georgia Avenue.  Experience with traffic calming projects at other locations in Montgomery County has demonstrated that traffic is slowed to posted speed limits with a resulting decline in pedestrian collisions.  With the decline of speeding and the addition of new improved pedestrian facilities, communities report - - and pedestrian crash data confirms - -  traffic calming projects result in much safer and more walkable communities.  To review plans for Plyers Mill Road, please click on the links below.


You may also submit comments, issues, or concerns to the project manager, Seifu Kerse at seifu.kerse@montgomerycountymd.gov.  All comments must be received by April 30.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Texting and Walking Results in More Injuries Per Mile Than Texting and Driving

A new study found that texting while walking causes more injuries per mile than texting while driving. Many studies have focused on the dangerous consequences of texting while driving. However, researchers found that texting and walking can be far more dangerous as they cause more injuries per mile. The consequences of texting include bumping into walls, falling down stairs, tripping over clutter or stepping into traffic, according to a press statement. Researchers pointed out that even though injuries from texting and driving are more severe, physical harm resulting from texting and walking occurs more frequently. People who text and walk face three types of distractions. The first one is manual where they're doing something else, the second one is visual where they're seeing something else and the third one is cognitive where their mind is somewhere else.

To see the full article, click here.

(Source for national data: Headline and Global News, March 4, 2014, as reported in the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety eNewsletter, March 14, 2014.)

Nationally, Pedestrian Deaths Drop After Three-Year Rise

After three straight years of increases that baffled experts, the number of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. appears to be dropping. Compared with the first six months of 2012, pedestrian deaths fell 8.7 percent during the first six months of 2013, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) says, citing preliminary data reported to the federal government by the states and the District of Columbia. There were 1,985 pedestrians killed in crashes in the first half of last year, down from 2,175 in January through June of 2012. Pedestrian fatality data for all of 2013 is expected later this year. Pedestrian safety experts, who were puzzled by the 15 percent, three-year jump in deaths—given it came while all other categories of road fatalities were dropping three percent—are just as stumped by the recent decline.


In Montgomery County, pedestrian deaths have totalled 11 in 2011, 6 in 2012, and 13 in 2013. The four year average (2010-2013) stands at 10.8, which is significantly below the three year average prior to the County Executive's Pedestrian Safety Initiative of 16.7 fatalities (2007-2009).

(Source for national data: USA Today, March 5, 2014, as reported in the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety eNewsletter, March 14, 2014. Local data from MCPD.)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Enforcement is an important component of improving pedestrian safety

Montgomery County Police ticketing a driver who did not yield to a pedestrian

MCDOT continues to invest in engineering improvements and educational outreach to enhance pedestrian safety – particularly in high crash areas where collision data show more pedestrians are being struck. In addition, County Police evaluate pedestrian crash types, locations, and victims to plan enforcement. In 2011 and 2012, pedestrian enforcement focused primarily on ticketing pedestrians who were not following the law (i.e. crossing against pedestrian signals and in illegal midblock locations).  In 2013, there was a shift to driver education and ticketing - over 1,200 citations were issued and approximately half of these were driver citations. 

In 2014, the focus of police pedestrian safety enforcement continues to be on driver education and ticketing, with police conducting a series of "crosswalk stings" at areas around the County. During these stings, a plainclothes police officer legally enters a crosswalk.  When drivers fail to yield to the pedestrian, they are pulled over and ticketed.  Pedestrians will also continue to be cited when unlawful crossing is observed. 

Preliminary data from 2013 indicate pedestrian crashes occurred at a slightly higher rate than in the previous year, and pedestrian fatalities almost doubled.  Therefore, we urge everyone to stay alert and watch out for each other. Drivers must follow the laws for yielding to pedestrian right-of-way. Pedestrians must help protect their safety by always giving their undivided attention when crossing the street.


These efforts are part of County Executive Leggett’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative. For more information, go to MCDOT's pedestrian safety website.