Laurel, Maryland Car and Truck Crash Deaths Through the Years, can anything be Learned from History?



Laurel, Maryland is near and dear to the heart of Clark and Steinhorn, as it is the home of our law firm. Consequently we pay attention to the carnage on Laurels' rodways. Few places in Maryland feature more major roads including the Baltimore- Washington Parkway, I-95, Route 1 and soon Route 200, the Inter-County Connector.

High speed roads are great but they draw tremendous amounts of traffic and high speed crashes which are often the cause of personal injuries and wrongful deaths.

An interesting compilation of data called purports to list fatal crashes in Laurel from 1975 to 2011. So what can we glean from this information to reduce fatal car and truck crashes in Laurel?

First, the data from years ago is less comprehensive incluidng drunk driving related fatal crashes and excluding fatal pedestrian crashes. The latest deadly crashes are actually plotted on Googlemaps which gives the reader more to sink their teeth into by way of understanding where deadly collisions occur and perhaps why.

So we are left with historical information for the most part. What can be made of it?

Most obviously the role of drunk drivers in Laurel fatal car and truck crashes has plummeted through the years. As an example, the peak year for crash-related fatalities in Laurel was 1986, when 13 people died and 7 drunk drivers were involved in the fatal crashes. From 1977 to 1991, 96 people were killed in Laurel collisions with 43 drunk or impaired drivers involved.

Contrast the period 1997 to 2011 with 40 Laurel crash victims and 12 drunk drivers and one gets the idea that law enforcement has gotten a lot tougher on drunk drivers and that fatal accidents have gone down dramatically. This roughly follows the changes applicable to blood alcohol levels under Maryland law and also a new focus on drunk driving enforcement.

To be clear, drunk drivers are still disproportionately involved in crashes that produce fatalities and injuries in Laurel but the numbers don't lie and 1986 and 1983 are overwhelmingly the deadliest truck and car crash years in Laurel and not coincidentally the years when the most drunk drivers were involved in such crashes.

Pedestrian crash data is less detailed and is sporadically reported but we are pleased to report that the maximum number of pedestrian deaths in any year between 1992 and 2011 is one. Obviously pedestrians are rarely crossing the B-W Parkway or I-95 which cuts down considerably on deadly pedestrian crashes but Route One remains a highly dangerous pedestrian crossing zone as crosswalks are routinely ignored and speed limits frequently not observed.

The bottom-line on City-Data's information is that broad trends can be divined and like the nation as a whole drunk driving and crash deaths are down in Laurel. Thank goodness. For more go to:

Robert V. Clark
Maryland Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer