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How Maryland State Highway analyzes motor vehicle crashes

Motor vehicle crashes happen far too frequently, not just in Maryland, but all throughout the United States. An estimated 18 million auto accidents happen each year in the country and those accidents lead to more than 5 million injuries and 40,000 fatalities. Car accidents are the most common motor vehicle accident and these result in the greatest number of injuries and fatalities as well as property damage. To prevent car accidents and other forms of auto accidents, the state of Maryland created the State Highway Administration to handle such cases.

All auto accidents that result in injuries, fatalities and vehicles being towed away are reported to the SHA. Law enforcement officers, who are the first to arrive at the scene of the crash, have to record the accident data, which will be processed for approximately 10 days before that crash data is sent to the Maryland Automated Accident Reporting System.

Authorities use different terminologies in studying crash data. The first is the accident frequency or the number of accidents that have occurred in an area where the accident happened. The SHA analyzes the accident rate at a certain highway as well as crash trends in order to determine the most appropriate action plan that can prevent mishaps.

The SHA also studies some contributing factors to car accidents such as road conditions, weather conditions and driving while drunk or impaired. Highways are also evaluated to determine if the road is in good condition or if the road design increases the risks of auto accidents.

The goal of the data analyses is to protect the best interests of the people and reduce potential losses caused by auto accidents. Motorists must also do their part to make the roads safe. They can be responsible drivers by following state traffic laws and respect the rights of others on the road.

Source: Maryland.gov, "Crash data analysis," accessed on July 24, 2014

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