BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ)– More than $12.5 million in federal highway funds will make their way to Maryland as authorities crack down on unsafe drivers and the number of fatal crashes.
The federal dollars will help beef up patrols on Maryland’s roads following 17 percent rise in the number of traffic deaths in 2015.
A trend state police don’t want to continue.
Hundreds have been killed driving, walking and biking on Maryland’s roadways. There were 520 fatal crashes in 2015 alone. Many blamed on distracted and reckless driving.
Something drivers say they see all the time.
“They’re distracted, doing other stuff, and they don’t care about the person around them,” said one driver.
“Well I did just see a motorcycle that went between two lanes, and that was kind of scary,” said another driver.
More than 80 separate grants will be issued to police departments and sheriff’s offices statewide.
$3.1 million will go to the Maryland state police and beef up overtime for officers.
Keeping their eyes out for aggressive, impaired, or speeding drivers, according to spokesman Greg Shipley of the Maryland State Police.
“Our field commanders are looking at where the crashes occur the most and putting those overtime efforts in those specific areas, not just to write tickets, but to impact the fatality rate in Maryland,” said Shipley.
“So much of this is personal responsibility. The responsibility of every driver who gets behind the wheel to make traffic safety a priority,” said Shipley.
A big number of the fatal crashes are more people on bikes or crossing the street being hit and killed by cars.
Aside from law enforcement, several safety advocacy groups, including mothers against drunk driving, will receive funding from this grant.