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Safety Strategy: Experts Try To Crack Down On Deaths On Md. Roads

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It claims more lives than crime or terrorism in Maryland: hundreds of deaths on state roads every year.

Alex DeMetrick reports pushing those fatal numbers lower is an uphill struggle.

Lives are lost in snow and ice.

“The operator of the vehicle probably going too fast and losing traction,” said a state trooper.

Lives are lost in fire.

“It struck the barrier that separates I-95 and 395,” said Kevin Cartwright, Baltimore City Fire.

Lives are lost on the job.

“Another family member is not going to make it home tonight who works out on the road crews,” said Dave Buck, SHA.

Every year in Maryland, 500 lives are lost in accidents on the state’s roads. Thousands more are injured.

Despite safer cars and crackdowns on driving, the numbers remain stubbornly constant. But no one’s giving up on the goal.

“Reducing fatalities and crashes on our highways,” said MVA Administrator John Kuo.

The concerns resulted in this largest gathering of safety experts in Maryland history: 3,000 people who enforce laws and pick up the pieces and study everything from traffic flow to signage. The conference is aimed at bringing fatalities down to zero.

“That’s a big goal. We recognize that. But when you think about it, what goal is going to be acceptable?” Kuo said.

Behind the number of deaths is the far higher number of those left to suffer loss.

“We lost our daughter to a drunk driver,” said Phil Mulliken.

Catherine Mulliken was 20 when she was killed in Carroll County.

“It’s a very tough adjustment. The first three years are the blackest three years of your life,” Mulliken said.

The Mullikens now speak with those convicted of driving under the influence. It’s their effort to try and make a dent in the numbers.

“Maybe open some eyes, they would change their ways. I feel now I’m beating my head against the wall. I’ll still do it because somebody’s got to do it,” said Cindy Mulliken.

“It’s about public education. It’s about constant messaging to change driver behavior,” Kuo said.

Besides education campaigns and law enforcement crackdowns, there is increasing focus on making highway infrastructure safer.

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