GLEN BURNIE, MD (October 13, 2016) – Following an increase in Maryland teen driver roadway fatalities in 2015, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) is working to save lives by promoting ‘5 To Drive’ during National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 16 through 22). Customer service agents from the MVA will hand out safety information to new teen drivers at all full-service locations next week to target five behaviors that can reduce the risk of fatal car crashes involving young people:
- No cell phones – If you glance at your phone for only five seconds driving at 55 mph, your car travels the length of a football field.
- No extra passengers – Driving with just one friend doubles the risk a teen driver will be involved in a fatal crash.
- No speeding – 40 percent of all young drivers killed in Maryland were speeding.*
- No alcohol – 11 percent of young drivers killed in Maryland were under the influence of alcohol.*
- Always buckle up – 24 percent of young drivers killed in Maryland were not wearing a seat belt.*
“Don't be a statistic. Following 5 simple rules can save your life!" said Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn.
In 2015, 21 drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 were killed on Maryland roads, a 75 percent increase from 2014 when Maryland recorded 12 fatalities. Between 2011 and 2015, an average of 22 drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 were killed on Maryland roads every year.
“The tragic increase in teen driver traffic deaths on our roads last year is unacceptable,” said MVA Administrator Christine E. Nizer. “We encourage parents to take an active role in discussing safe driving behaviors with their teens. It can save their lives.”
Young driver safety is a core focal point for Maryland’s highway safety program and extremely important in Maryland’s mission of Toward Zero Deaths. Along with other members of the Maryland Teen Driver Safety Coalition, the MVA promotes model safety programs and messages to schools, teens, parents and others who help coach new drivers. Additionally, Maryland has a strong graduated driver licensing system, also known as the Rookie Driver program, which includes restrictions during the learner’s permit and provisional license phases -- targeting the highest risk conditions and behaviors for new drivers, including:
- Limits on passengers for new drivers under age 18;
- Prohibition on cell phone use and texting;
- Restrictions on driving from Midnight to 5 a.m.;
- Zero tolerance for drinking and driving; and
- Minimum holding period with no moving violations before moving to the next license stage.
To strengthen and expand the state’s efforts to save lives on Maryland roads, Governor Larry Hogan recently announced more than $12.5 million in federal highway safety funds to more than 80 agencies and organizations across Maryland. The funds will help reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries across the state and are a key component of Maryland’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). The plan brings together local, state, and federal partners and organizations such as the National Safety Council, AAA, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and numerous other corporate, non-profit, and public-sector partners. The SHSP contains more than 30 separate strategies to reduce overall roadway fatalities by at least 50 percent in the next two decades. The plan emphasizes solutions from the “Four Es” of highway safety – Engineering, Enforcement, Education, and Emergency Medical Services.
In total, 521 people died in traffic-related crashes on Maryland’s roadways in 2015, an increase from 2014 when 443 people were killed. Nationwide, 7.2 percent more people died in traffic-related crashes in 2015 compared to 2014.
For more information on Maryland’s Rookie Driver program, please visit: mva.maryland.gov/rookiedriver. Additionally, Maryland's Toward Zero Deaths campaign focuses on preventing impaired driving, aggressive driving and distracted driving and promotes seat belt use. For more information on the Toward Zero Deaths campaign, please visit towardzerodeathsmd.com.
* Statewide average for 16 to 20-year-old drivers from 2011-2015.