Officials remind area drivers to play it safe in summer traffic

Area officials gathered near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tuesday for an event reminding drivers to be safe and smart on the roads this summer. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Area officials gathered near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tuesday for an event reminding drivers to be safe and smart on the roads this summer.

Jim Ports, deputy secretary of Maryland’s Department of Transportation. (WTOP/Kristi King)
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Area officials gathered near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tuesday for an event reminding drivers to be safe and smart on the roads this summer. (WTOP/Kristi King)

STEVENSVILLE, Md. — Summer months are among the most deadly for traffic crashes, and a good way to avoid death and injury is clicking the seat belt, officials said.

“The routine wearing of seat belts is the single most-effective measure to reduce crash-related deaths and injuries,” said Kurt Erickson of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program during an event Tuesday promoting safe summer driving.

With the Chesapeake Bay Bridge as a backdrop, officials gathered by AAA Mid-Atlantic detailed how to help keep drivers safe, keep crashes to a minimum and keep traffic flowing smoothly.

“Please do not tailgate,” said Jim Ports, deputy secretary of Maryland’s Department of Transportation. “Tailgating is the No. 1 reason for crashes on the Bay Bridge.”

“Give a little extra space — a little extra time. Once you do that, traffic will flow smoothly, and we’ll get you safely to your destination,” said Maryland Transportation Authority police Maj. Kevin Anderson.

Ports noted a rising number of fatal crashes on Maryland roads. At a 70-year low in 2014 with 443 traffic deaths, there were 521 in 2015 and 523 last year.

“These are not statistics. These are not numbers,” Ports said. “They are our family members and our members of the community.”

Drivers regionwide should also respect the area’s move-over laws, which require cars to slow down and move over if possible when passing law enforcement or workers providing roadside assistance.

“Help us reduce traffic fatalities and injuries,” said the Maryland State Police Chief of Field Operations Lt. Col. Frank Lioi.

“Don’t drink and drive, don’t drive distracted, don’t be an aggressive driver, and always buckle up,” Lioi said. “Let’s make this a memorable Memorial Day weekend for all the right reasons.”

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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