If you are involved in a car collision, you may feel like you are left all alone to deal with the mess. You many have the stress of dealing with the insurance company, scheduling medical appointments, getting your car repaired, and trying to get back to work. However, with as many car wrecks as there are in Maryland every year, your problems may be more common than you may realize.
How Many Car Accidents Happen in Maryland per Year?
According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), there are an average of more than 100,000 car accidents every year. Based on Crash summary statistics from 2014 to 2019, of the 103,734 average accidents per year, 580 of those were fatal. More than 36,000 accidents on average involve injury crashes, with over 66,000 involving only property damage. On average, 635 people are killed, and more than 55,000 people are injured every year in Maryland auto accidents.
In comparison to the rest of the United States, the rate of fatalities per 100,000 population is lower in Maryland, averaging about 11%, while the U.S. averages about 14%. The number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is also lower in Maryland, at about 1.15 compared to about 1.4 in the U.S. overall.
Through 2018, Maryland continues to have lower fatality rates than the rest of the United States, in 2018, there were 0.78 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, compared to 1.08 for the U.S. overall. By population, there were 7.40 fatalities per 100,000 population in Maryland compared to 10.25 in the U.S. By county, Prince George’s County has the highest number of fatalities, followed by Baltimore County, Montgomery County, and Anne Arundel County.
Compared to neighboring states, Maryland has a lower rate of traffic fatalities. West Virginia has 14.7 deaths per 100,000 population and the number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is 1.42. Those rates for Virginia are 8.4 per 100,000 population and 0.87 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. In Pennsylvania, those rates are 9.3 per 100,000 population and 1.20 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. In Delaware, there are 12.9 fatalities per 100,000 population and 1.26 per 100 million miles traveled. This compares to 7.4 and 0.78 respectively in Maryland.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most recent three-year averages for Maryland run from 2017 to 2019. This includes 473 total traffic fatalities, at a rate of 0.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. This represents a significant decrease from prior years. Passenger vehicle occupant fatalities have also been on the decline. From 2010 to 2019, the number of occupant fatalities fell from 397 to 255.
The number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities has also continually declined over the years. Fatal accidents involving a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher fell from 165 in 2010 to 130 in 2019. Similarly, speeding-related fatalities fell from 215 to 135 over the same time period.
The number of pedestrians cyclists killed has not changed significantly over the past 10 or so years. From 2010 to 2019, the average number of pedestrians killed remained at about 100. The number of cyclists killed hovers around 6 people per year.
Of the 442 Maryland fatality crashes in 2016, 254 involved a single vehicle, 49 involved a large truck, 134 involved speeding, 65 involved a rollover accident, 205 involved going off the road, and 127 occurred at an intersection. 56% of fatal accidents involved a single vehicle and 44% involved multiple vehicles.
Despite having lower number of fatalities compared to the U.S. in general, drivers in Maryland pay car insurance rates close to the national average, and in some areas, above the average amount. According to a survey, the average Maryland car insurance premium was about $1,368.32 a year, compared to a nationwide average of about $1,500. However, Baltimore drivers paid an average of more than $1,800 per year. Areas in and around Washington D.C. pay some of the highest rates in the country.
Seat Belt Usage
The number of seriously injured unbelted motor vehicle occupants is increasing. In 2017, close to 400 unbelted passenger vehicle occupants were seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash. The numbers have increased since 2011. Between 2013 and 2017, the number of unbelted passenger vehicle occupants seriously injured in crashes has increased by 75 percent.
The number of fatally injured unbelted occupants has remained relatively steady. In 2017, unbelted motor vehicle occupants represented close to one third of occupants fatally injured in crashes statewide. There were 116 unrestrained occupants killed in crashes. This represented over 20 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Metropolitan areas have the highest concentration of crashes involving unbelted motor vehicle occupants. From 2013 to 2017, seriously and fatally injured unbelted occupants were most concentrated in Baltimore and Prince George’s Counties. On average, two-thirds of all seriously and fatally injured unbelted occupants were involved in crashes in metropolitan areas.
Statistics on Speeding Crashes in Maryland
A look at MDOT figures shows that speed-related accidents are just as much a problem locally as they are throughout the United States. For instance:
- Speeding is an underlying cause in 76 fatal collisions every year, leading to 84 deaths on average.
- There are usually multiple injured victims involved with speed-related accidents in Maryland. In the 3,369 such incidents that occur annually, almost 5,000 people are hurt.
- Excessive speed is a factor in one-third of all deadly motor vehicle accidents in the United States over the last 20 years. From 2014 to 2018, speeding was the cause of 33.1% of fatal and injury-causing collisions in Maryland.
- MDOT data shows that speeding auto collisions are on the rise in Maryland. After dropping to 9,948 in 2017, there were 10,635 of these incidents in 2018. This is also higher than the five-year average of 10,411.
How Speeding Affect Risk and Injuries
The data indicates that high-speed car crashes lead to more fatalities and injuries to victims. It is also important to understand why these collisions are so dangerous. One reason is that a driver has less time to react to potential hazards when speeding or if traveling faster than is appropriate under the conditions. In addition, the laws of physics dictate that a more intense, violent force will result upon impact.
Another effect of speeding is that a motorist will be less predictable to drivers, pedestrians, bicycle riders, and other sharing the road. These individuals will base their own actions on the assumption that a driver is going the speed limit. Perhaps by making a turn or traffic maneuver. When a vehicle is speeding, this assumption can be deadly.
Drunk Driving Car Accidents
Car accident fatalities had been on the decline in recent years, here in Baltimore, Maryland and across the United States. Unfortunately, that trend has reversed itself. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2015, some 35,092 people died due to injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents – a 7.2 percent increase over 2014 and the largest increase in 50 years. Of those accidents, drunk driving was a factor in 10,265 deaths. That number is appalling. We know from our work as Maryland accident attorneys that even one death on our roadways due to drunk driving is one too many.
Here in Baltimore, DUI arrests were up in 2015. NHTSA reported a total of 513 traffic accident deaths in Maryland in 2015, up from 442 fatalities in 2014. Drunk-driving crashes accounted for more than one-third of traffic accident fatalities in Maryland.
Some other sobering statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD):
- Every day, 28 people are killed in drunk driving accidents.
- Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash.
- An average drunk driver has driven drunk over 80 times before the first arrest.
- 50 to 75% of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license.
- 100% of drunk driving accidents are preventable.
Public safety experts attribute the overall rise in motor vehicle crash fatalities to several factors. These include lower gas prices making auto travel more affordable; distracted driving due to texting and cell phone usage, interacting with other passengers, and other distractions; drowsy driving; not wearing seat belts; and speeding and aggressive driving. Add alcohol consumption to any of the risk factors, and that is a recipe for disaster. Nationally, drunk driving is a factor in one out of three traffic accident fatalities, while distracted driving plays a role in one out of 10 deaths.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
It is normal to feel upset, confused, and overwhelmed in the aftermath of a car accident. What information do you need? What are you supposed to say to the other driver? Are you supposed to call the police? Is there any evidence you need to collect at the accident scene? What if someone has been seriously injured?
After an auto accident, you should:
- Keep calm and assess the situation – if anyone has been injured and needs immediate medical attention, call 911 right away to request an ambulance. Otherwise, you should move your car out of harm’s way so that you do not impede traffic or have another collision. Turn your hazard lights on to alert other drivers there has been a wreck, and place down flares or safety triangles if you have them.
- Call the Police – Let the dispatcher know you were in an auto accident and where you are located. When the investigating officer arrives, tell the truth about what happened and just stick to the facts. You should be able to obtain a copy of the police report from the police department for a fee within a few days. This is an important step to take, as police accident reports are often critical pieces of evidence that can make or break your claim.
- Get information from the other driver – You will want to get the name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, insurance company name, and insurance policy number from everyone involved in the wreck. If you were involved in a car accident with a commercial vehicle, be sure to get the name and contact information of the driver’s employer.
- Do not talk about fault – The last thing you should be doing at the scene of your car wreck is arguing with other drivers about who is at fault. You are better off not saying anything. Remember, even saying something that seems harmless like “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t see you” can be interpreted as admitting fault.
- Take pictures and video – If you are able to, take detailed pictures and/or video of your car crash. Make sure to show all the damage, skid marks, streets signs, traffic lights, road markings, construction, hazards, and any visible injuries. Do your best to paint a clear picture of the accident scene. Bonus tip: Take notes about your wreck while it’s all still fresh in your mind. Write down then and where the auto accident took place and any important details that could be useful down the road when filing a claim.
- Seek out witnesses – If anyone saw your car collision happen, ask them to stay to give a statement to police. Before they leave, see if you can get their name and contact information. Eyewitness testimony is often a difference-maker when trying to prove fault.
- Get examined by a medical professional – Even if you do not have visible injuries or symptoms, you should get checked out by a licensed medical doctor within 24 hours of your car wreck. Some injuries have delayed onset symptoms and are not immediately noticeable. Make sure to document your doctor visits and attend all follow-up appointments.
- Go off the grid – Do not post anything online about your car accident. This includes talking about your car crash on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and all other social media platforms. Anything you post online about your collision could potentially be used against you to challenge or deny your claim. You are simply better off not discussing the details of your accident online or with your family and friends.
- Notify your insurance company – You are required to notify your insurance company that you have been in a collision, so call them to let them know you were in a car wreck. Give the facts of what happened but do not go into too much detail. If an insurance adjuster pressures you for more information or wants you to give a recorded statement, politely decline and refer them to your lawyer. Do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company without speaking to an attorney first.
- Call a car accident lawyer – An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to meet with you, learn the details of your wreck, discuss your legal options, answer your questions, and help you figure out the best way to maximize the value of your claim. Since most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and will represent you on a contingency fee basis, it probably won’t cost you any upfront money to have a car wreck lawyer tackle your claim.
If you were involved in an auto accident, you are not alone. It may be overwhelming to face your injuries, recover, getting back to work, and fighting with the insurance company. You deserve to have an advocate fighting for your, to make sure you get the compensation you deserve so you can focus on recovery. If you or someone you love has been injured, please contact our legal team immediately. At the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt, we offer a free consultation and will fight for you, to make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries. Call our office anytime day or night at 443-844-1528.