BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New national data shows a sizable increase in the number of driving-related deaths across the country.
George Solis breaks down the numbers and where Maryland falls on the list.
2016 proved to be a deadly year across our nation’s roadways. New data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed more than 37,0000 lives were lost on U.S. roads last year — an increase of 5.6 percent from 2015.
According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, there were 522 lives lost on state roads last year.
“Completely unacceptable numbers. We talk about the numbers, but these are lives these are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters who aren’t there after that fatality occurs,” says Chrissy Nizer with the Maryland MVA.
Susan Yum is a Maryland mother all too familiar with what that loss feels like.
“When the crash caused my son’s death, the driver walked out the courthouse with two traffic tickets and two $500 dollars fines,” says Yum.
In 2011, her five-year-old son Jake was killed in a crash after a driver on his cell phone rear-ended the family car.
The tragedy led to the passage of “Jake’s Law” will create tougher punishments for distracted drivers.
“There’s no call, no text, that is so important that it can’t wait or that you can’t pull over for,” she says.
Last year also saw the passage of “Noah’s Law.”
“None of this would have happened if my son hadn’t been sacrificed,” said Noah’s father, Richard Leotta.
Montgomery County officer Noah Leotta was hit and killed by a drunk driver while performing a traffic stop.
“Noah’s Law” cracks down on drunk drivers by requiring them to get in-car breathalyzers.
The NHTSA data showed that while distracted and drowsy deaths decreased, drunk, speeding and unbelted death were rising.
In Maryland, there’s a continuing commitment to reduce fatalities on roadways to zero.
“It’s important to Governor Hogan, it’s important from a highway safety standpoint, and at the end of the day, it’s about the lives we save,” says Nizer.
NHTSA’s report also saw motorcyclist, bicyclist, and pedestrian deaths increase in 2016. The report also noted that drunk driving deaths in Maryland did see a small decrease from 2015 to last year.