Tag: safety

Maryland Awards Over $12 Million in Highway Safety Grants

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Governor Larry Hogan today announced over $12.5 million in federal highway safety grants to over 80 agencies and organizations across Maryland to expand efforts to save lives on Maryland roads. The funds will be distributed by the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office.

Harford County Students Can’t Take Field Trips to “Unsafe” Baltimore

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Harford County students will miss out on visiting the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters, the National Aquarium, the birthplace and grave of Edgar Allan Poe, and Fort McHenry, among many other Baltimore-area attractions. That’s because Harford County administrators have banned all field trips to Baltimore City locations for the indefinite future, citing safety concerns.

New Police Commissioner Comes with Experience, Credentials and a Medal for Heroism

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Anthony Batts and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Here’s what we know about Anthony Batts, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s choice for police commissioner: he’s a Californian, he’s smart (a Ph.D. in public administration, an MBA too, and he has lectured at Harvard and taught at Cal State Long Beach), he has three kids, received the Long Beach PD’s award for heroism and he has served in some pretty tough parts of Northern and Southern California.  On paper, at least, the guy looks like a solid choice. Read the press release, below, for more details. -The Eds.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake named Dr. Anthony W. Batts, D.P.A. commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department effective September 27, 2012. Batts comes to Baltimore with decades of law enforcement experience and leadership training, including his time as police chief of Oakland and Long Beach, California. Anthony Barksdale will remain acting commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department until Batts’ start date.

During his tenure as head of two of California’s large police agencies, Batts presided over major reductions in crime and violence. He is credited with reforming Oakland’s police agency to focus on data-driven policing. In Long Beach, he established an Office of Community Policing and reduced excessive force complaints, while simultaneously reducing crime, including reducing homicides by 37% from 2002 to 2007.

The DBFA Wants to Improve Baltimore

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Anne Arundel isn’t the only Maryland locale getting serious about pedestrian safety. October is Pedestrian Safety Month, and the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance, in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, has launched a new website and a video contest to encourage safe walking habits.

DBFA’s initiatives specifically target young children and teenagers who are at the greatest risk of injury, but the website also includes information on how to report unsafe intersections, as well as a safe driving pledge.

 For more information, visit BaltimoreWalks.org

Anne Arundel Gets Serious About Sharing the Road

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In the past, we’ve joked about Maryland drivers’ “creative disregard” for the rules of the road, but at least one county believes the time has come to get serious about safety on the streets.

Police in Anne Arundel are stepping up enforcement of safety laws in the wake of eight local pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities in 2011. According to The Sun, officers will be issuing warnings and citations to drivers who edge into bike lanes, jaywalking pedestrians, and other unsafe road-sharers.

It remains to be seen what effect these measures will have and if they will inspire surrounding counties to follow suit. Certainly with the modest influx of bike lanes in Baltimore City recently (some of which run contrary to the flow of car traffic), a thorough refresher in bicycle safety for both motorists and cyclists would be welcome here as well. And with pedestrian fatalities holding steady across Maryland even as total traffic fatalities have decreased, a re-education in the art of vehicular (and non-vehicular) coexistence couldn’t come too soon.

Discount Buses: A Cheapskate’s Dream; A Safety Nightmare

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My bus trip to New York last week cost me $13 (one-way). We left on time, arrived on time, and had (sluggish) wifi all the way.  With Baltimore-New York train tickets hovering around $100+ and often plagued by delays (and no wifi!), no wonder more people are turning to the low-cost bus lines that run up and down the east coast.  They’re so convenient that I sometimes wonder what the catch is. Well, we got one answer this week:  the catch is that your bus might catch on fire.

Yep, an MVP bus from New York to Baltimore caught fire on the New Jersey Turnpike after a right rear tire blew out. (Dramatic photo here.) Sure, accidents happen — but these low-cost bus lines seem to be plagued with more than their share. A speeding bus overturned int he Bronx in March, and 14 people died.  A Greensboro-New York Chinatown bus flipped in May, leaving four people dead. A Greyhound bus turned over on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last week, sending 21 people to the hospital. A double-decker Megabus had its second level sheared off by a bridge last year, killing four passengers.

Low-cost bus services stay cheap by being efficient; sometimes, it seems, that means cutting corners, letting sleepy drivers go out for one more run (they’re supposed to be restricted to 10 hours of driving a day), and not enforcing safety regulations.  The National Transportation Safety Board recently announced a safety review of the industry. But with gas and train prices staying the way they are, I’ll probably keep taking them anyway.

Do you feel safe on these buses?

Radim Strojek / Shutterstock.com

Hopkins Hit-and-Runs: Walk Safe, Baltimore

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Parents of prospective Hopkins students often fret about Baltimore’s reputation as a crime-plagued city — hence the school’s ubiquitous flashing blue light phones and omnipresent security officers. But with four Hopkins students seriously injured in pedestrian-car accidents over the past year and a half, it’s starting to seem like the most dangerous thing a Hopkins student can do is to try and cross the street.

This weekend, two Hopkins students were injured by a hit-and-run driver at the corner of St. Paul and 33rd streets. Both freshman Rachel Cohen and sophomore Benjamin Zucker are expected to survive the accident, which took place at 2:15 AM on Saturday night; Zucker is in critical condition. In 2009, a Hopkins student died after a hit-and-run accident at the same intersection.

In February of this year, Hopkins sophomore Nathan Krasnopoler was biking down West University Parkway when he was hit by an 83 year-old driver, who has since been changed with negligent driving and failure to yield right-of-way to a cyclist in a designated bike lane. Krasnopoler is in a coma and is not expected to recover.

In October 2009, junior Miriam Frankl died after a hit-and-run collision in St. Paul Street’s service drive, at the intersection of 33rd Street. In February of this year, Thomas Meighan, who was drunk at the time of the accident, pled guilty to multiple felony charges and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

With its grassy expanses and smiling security staff, the Hopkins campus — and its Charles Village environs — can sometimes feel like a protected enclave. These accidents are a harsh reminder that that’s far from true. Remember to drive safe, walk safe, and bike safe, Baltimore.

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