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Maryland DOT unveils new data dashboard to help prevent deadly highway crashes

Maryland DOT unveils new data dashboard to help prevent deadly highway crashes
Maryland DOT unveils new data dashboard to help prevent deadly highway crashes 02:16

BALTIMORE -- The Maryland Department of Transportation showcased a new tool to help prevent deadly crashes on the state's highways.

Before unveiling it, MDOT revealed 563 people died in these crashes in 2022. It's the same number as 2021.

Chrissy Nizer, Motor Vehicle Administrator and Gov. Wes Moore's Highway Safety Representative, said the incidents happened frequently all year.

"In 2022, the longest stretch we had without a fatality was five days. Not even a full week went by without a fatality. It's a travesty," she said.

So far in 2023, 146 have died. A devastating showing of this happened last month, when a driver crashed into a workzone on I-695 in Baltimore County, killing six construction workers.

To try and prevent the next tragedy, MDOT created a crash fatality dashboard. In it, you can see hot spots and it's updated in real-time, daily.

Before, public crash data from MDOT was only updated on a monthly basis.

You can also filter the data a number of ways. You can look at incidents by county, what caused it, lighting conditions, as well as age and gender of those involved.

"We must never forget that every single piece of data represents a person. a mother, a father, a child, a grandparent, a friend, or a co-worker," said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld.

A lot of the causes of these crashes have remained the same over the years, like speed and driving under the influence.

While he hopes the dashboard helps to change things, Wiedefeld said it's going to really require a cultural shift.

"It's going to take the whole community, not just individuals," he said. "The individual that may be driving poorly, [we'll] need to make those family connections, those friend connections, [apply] this peer pressure [to tell them] don't drive that way."

Maryland State Police also had a hand in the new dashboard. Superintendent Roland Butler said with it being updated daily, they'll be able to find problem areas faster.

"In the past, certain barrack commanders may have been keeping their own spreadsheet. Now with the dashboard, we can plug it in. We can look at the allocation of personnel, possibly moving personnel from one barrack to another," Butler said.

It's important to note data in the dashboard is subject to change, depending on the outcome of investigations on the incidents recorded.

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