Every year, hundreds of people are killed in Maryland in car accidents, while thousands more are hurt. Tens of thousands of additional car crashes only lead to property damage, but even those can cause serious problems for the people involved.
While this sounds terrible, the true extent of how many people have lost their lives or have had their lives drastically changed by a car accident can only be expressed in numbers. Only then can the real costs of the dangers of our state's roads be fully understood, trends deciphered, and solutions made to keep people safe.
Sources of Car Accident Statistics in Maryland
Every year, the Maryland Highway Safety Office puts out a benchmark report that detail car accidents in the state over the past five years. These reports do not just tally the total number of car crashes in the state; they also break the data down into numerous categories like day of the week, roadway type, and the county where the crash happened. The depth of the data in the benchmark report allows for plenty of useful analysis and insights into how and when accidents happen in the state.
Of course, no report is any more reliable than the data that it is comprised of. These benchmark reports are based on police reports that responding officers make on the scene of a crash and in the immediate aftermath. As a result, the detail and insight into crashes that only lead to property damage is far less intense than the information surrounding crashes that lead to injuries or fatalities.
General Statistics for Car Accidents in Maryland
Currently, the most recent benchmark report spans the years 2012 – 2016.
According to the report, in 2016 Maryland saw 120,120 car accidents. In total, these crashes injured 50,864 and killed 522 people.
Across all of these categories, 2016 saw bad car accident trends getting even worse in Maryland. The total number of car accidents had been rising every year since 2012, but the increase had always been by single percentage points. 2016's increase over 2015's total, however, was a 11.4% jump. This comes on the heels of 2015's increase over 2014's total, which was a 10.0% increase.
The disturbing increase in the benchmark report was not just contained to the total number of crashes. In 2016, fatal crashes were also at their highest point in the five-year study: the 522 road fatalities were a 17.8% increase from 2014's low point of 443. Injuries from car accidents were also at a five-year high: the 50,864 people who were hurt proved to be a 13.5% jump over 2015, a 19% increase from the low point in 2013, and the first time the number has eclipsed 50,000 in years.
Maryland's Car Accident Problem is in Line with National Spike
Unfortunately, this drastic increase in road deaths is not just a problem in Maryland. 2015 and 2016 saw drastic increases in road fatalities across the country, breaking a decades-long improvement.
Most Crashes in Urban Areas: Bad Crashes in Rural Areas
The benchmark report also broke down the location of the crashes that happened in Maryland over the past five years. Looking at the county where the crash occurred, an interesting trend developed. While urban areas saw the highest number of car accidents, a disproportionate number of the state's fatal crashes were happening in the rural counties of Maryland.
For example, between 2012 and 2016, the counties that had the highest percentage of the state's total car accidents were
- Baltimore City (22.2%)
- Baltimore County (15.8%)
- Prince George's County (13.7%)
- Montgomery County (12.0%)
- Anne Arundel County (9.2%)
Altogether, these five counties accounted for 72.9% of Maryland's total car accidents.
These same counties, however, accounted for only 54.8% of the state's fatal car accidents in that time period.
- Baltimore City (7.4%)
- Baltimore County (13.0%)
- Prince George's County (18.1%)
- Montgomery County (8.3%)
- Anne Arundel County (8.0%)
The reason for this discrepancy is likely the fact that cars are less likely to get up to high speeds in urban areas where speed limits are low, stop signs and lights are plentiful, and the traffic is often heavy. In rural areas, on the other hand, roads are designed to get relatively few drivers from one place to another quickly.
Seat Belts Make a Difference
Another takeaway from the benchmark report is that seat belts make a huge difference in the outcome of a car accident in Maryland.
Over the past five years in car accidents where one of the drivers involved was injured, 75.6% of the drivers were wearing a shoulder seat belt, a lap seat belt, or both at the time of the accident.
This high percentage evaporates in car accidents that end in a fatality. Only 31.9% of the drivers who were involved in a fatal car crash in Maryland were wearing a seat belt.
This does not mean that not wearing a seat belt causes car accidents. Instead, it is statistical evidence that car accidents are more likely to become fatal if a driver is not properly restrained at the time of the collision. Not using a seat belt can turn a serious car crash into a fatal one, or a minor accident into a serious one.
Maryland Car Accident Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
These statistics highlight the dangers that are present on the roads of Maryland, day in and day out. They also showcase the importance of having a solid personal injury attorney on your side if you or a loved one gets hurt in a crash that was caused by another driver. These crashes frequently lead to severe injuries that take months of recovery time, thousands of dollars in medical care, and can drastically alter your ability to work and earn an income while you proceed on the path to recovery.
The personal injury and car accident attorneys at Gilman & Bedigiam can help. Contact us online for the legal representation that you need to overcome the injuries and the losses you have sustained in a car crash.