Prince Georges County Beltway Stretch Deadly

From our perch, high above the intersection of I-95 and I-495 in Prince Georges County, Maryland, we can tell that it's a dangerous place to drive. In our prior reporting, we have focused on the fact that nationwide, wrongful deaths from car crashes are steadily declining while increasing in Prince Georges County. ( see   The Washington Post has an interesting piece discussing this phenomenon and speculating why 70 percent of Beltway fatalities occur in Prince Georges County crashes.

Knowledgeable people are perplexed by the deadly nature of the Beltway in Prince Georges County, Maryland. It is not the largest stretch or the most heavily traveled. Montgomery County has several areas that routinely carry more people per day and yet during the three-year period 2006-2008, 52 people were killed on the Beltway in Prince Georges County and 6 people in Montgomery County.

AAA- Mid-Atlantic reports that speeds are higher on I-495 in Prince Georges County and perhaps long-term construction activities may be a contributing factor.

Overall Beltway crash deaths declined from 31 in 2007 to 11 in 2008, and there are a number of recurrent scenarios.

Alcohol and excessive speed claimed one third of the lives and half the collisions were single-car crashes. Pedestrians emerging from their cars as a result of flat tires, breakdowns and other emergencies were twenty percent of the victims. Late night drivers were also at greater risk perhaps because of alcohol and drug use.

Ironically, the predominant Beltway complaint, of slow speeds and massive congestion, may play a role in reducing fatalities, as rush-hour drivers are far less likely to be killed while driving the Prince Georges County Beltway.

The bottom line don't drink and drive and don't get distracted, half the drivers who were killed in Prince Georges County Beltway accidents left the roadway.