News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
4/7/2021
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Whitney Nichels,

Connect to Disconnect: Distracted Driving Enforcement Underway


WHAT: 
         

Representatives from the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MDOT MVA) and the Howard County Police Department will be available for one-on-one on-camera media interviews to discuss the Connect to Disconnect initiative, designed to raise awareness and curb distracted driving. In 2019, 535 lives were lost on Maryland highways in vehicle crashes. Statistics show distracted driving contributes to 48% of all crashes in Maryland. MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office is supporting local law enforcement and their participation in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Connect to Disconnect initiative. To support the campaign, the Maryland State Police and Howard County Police will conduct distracted driving checks. At the media event, there will be opportunities to gather b-roll video and photos of distracted driving enforcement.

WHEN:          
Thursday, April 8, 2021

1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. - On-camera interviews
1:30 p.m. - Officers will demonstrate a controlled traffic stop to explain distracted driving enforcement and what officers look for when issuing a citation.

WHERE:       
Snowden River Parkway from MD 175 to Broken Land Parkway, Howard County

Media Parking: Snowden Square Shopping Complex, 9011 Snowden Square Drive, Columbia

WHO:            
Chrissy Nizer, Administrator, MDOT MVA and Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway 
Safety Representative
Captain Justin Baker, Howard County Police Department Special Operations Bureau

INFO:             
Nearly 40 law enforcement agencies across the state are taking part in Connect to Disconnecta national one-day effort on April 8, 2021, that includes an 4-hour enforcement period to address distracted driving. Local and national ads will air on billboards, television, radio and online through mid-April to generate awareness. Information on distracted driving includes:

  • From 2015 – 2019, distracted driving contributed to approximately 55,000 crashes each year in Maryland.
  • The Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas accounted for nearly 85% of Maryland crashes in which distracted driving was a contributing factor.
  • In Maryland, fines for using a handheld cellphone while driving are $83 for the first offense, $140 for a second offense and $160 for a third offense. Writing, sending or reading a text or electronic message while driving can result in a $70 fine and one point on the driver’s record. These penalties increase if the use of a device contributes to a crash, serious injury or death.
  • More information about the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office is available at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.

NOTE: In consideration of COVID-19 precautions, all media will be required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing while recording video and conducting interviews at this event. To minimize foot traffic on site, media should RSVP to Whitney Nichels at 410-582-6406 or wnichels@mdot.maryland.gov to pre-schedule an interview during the designated timeframe. If you are not feeling well the day of the event, please reach out to reschedule an interview for another day.

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