The Most Dangerous Part of a Baltimorean’s Day

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You probably don’t consider it every time you get behind the wheel of your car, but driving is an awesome responsibility – to maneuver more than one ton of steel as your thoughts review to-do items, your kids bicker, and your phone dings incoming messages requires precision and care. Even if you maintain your focus flawlessly, another driver may make the traffic mistake that ends your vehicle’s life or even your own.

In honor of Drive Safely Work Week, October 1 through 5, the Maryland State Highway Administration has issued a bulletin reminding us all: “It is a frightening fact that the time Marylanders spend driving — either as part of the job or to and from work — is the most dangerous part of their day.”

So why not put on the brakes for a basic refresher in safe and practical driving?

Sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), “‘Back to Basics – Your keys to safe driving’ highlights the critical importance of buckling up, steering with a clear head and remembering parking and backing basics and other fundamentals,” according to SHA press materials. The goal of this week: To get Marylanders to review and refocus on the life-saving basics of responsible driving.

“We can all appreciate the often frenetic pace of life and the temptation to multitask, but when we’re behind the wheel all attention needs to be on one task alone: driving,” said State Highway Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “Drive Safely Work Week is a good time to focus on reviewing the rules of the road. Whether driving as part of our job, or to and from work, safe driving is everybody’s business.”

Check out more information from the SHA press release:
According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, traffic crashes are the number one cause of death and injury in the workplace. An average of about 500 people die on Maryland roads every year. On average in 2011, every 18 hours a person was killed on roadways throughout the State, totaling 486 deaths for the year. Preventing such daily tragedies from striking families is the reason the Maryland Department of Transportation and law enforcement agencies are joining together for a statewide campaign called Toward Zero Deaths.

“Our highway safety plan’s goal is to reduce the fatalities on our roadways, and when you evaluate the final goal, it has to be zero, because every life counts,” said MVA Administrator and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative John Kuo. “Drive Safely Work Week steers our attention to the fact that crashes are not inevitable, but preventable. By doing the right thing and making good decisions, crashes can be prevented and lives can be saved.”

From speeding to seatbelt compliance to driving while impaired, Toward Zero Deaths is focused on reducing highway mortality. The effort targets the causes of highway fatalities with public health efforts, communications outreach and other elements.  This initiative brings together law enforcement, highway safety officials, emergency medical responders and champions in the community in an effort to change the perception of safety on the roadways.

Drive Safely Work Week is observed each year in the first full week of October. It encourages workers to adapt safe driving habits in an effort to prevent injuries and save lives. For more information on NETS and Toward Zero Deaths, visit these four websites.

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