Prince George’s remains deadliest Md. county for traffic, pedestrian deaths

New analysis of recent traffic data shows Prince George’s County, Maryland, is continuing an unsought distinction — the state’s most dangerous place to drive or walk.

“It was the deadliest county in traffic fatalities in the whole state of Maryland,” said John Townsend, spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

In 2020, 111 people died in traffic crashes in Prince George’s County: “That accounted for almost a third of all traffic deaths in the greater Washington area, 34.2%,” Townsend said.

The number was even higher for people walking on area roads.

“The county accounted for almost four in 10 pedestrian deaths in 2020, 38.7%,” said Townsend, citing recent data reported by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

The situation is not new for Prince George’s County. Since 2015, the county has had the highest number of traffic fatalities every year, according to data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

The raw data comes from the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA.

5 Year Trend For The Top 10 Counties of 2019 — Fatalities
Maryland Counties by 2019 Ranking
Fatalities
Percent of Total
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
1
Prince Georges
96
78
99
103
107
18
15
18
20
21
2
Baltimore County
69
54
73
85
61
13
10
13
17
12
3
Baltimore City
42
53
44
34
44
8
10
8
7
8
4
Anne Arundel County
37
44
44
55
41
7
8
8
11
8
5
Montgomery County
47
42
33
34
37
9
8
6
7
7
6
Washington County
17
18
14
14
28
3
3
3
3
5
7
Frederick County
20
16
27
17
23
4
3
5
3
4
8
Howard County
18
23
17
20
23
3
4
3
4
4
9
Cecil County
16
21
31
26
19
3
4
6
5
4
10
Charles County
15
29
35
21
19
3
6
6
4
4
Sub Total 1.*
Top Ten Counties
385
390
432
409
402
74
75
77
80
77
Sub Total 2.**
All Other Counties
135
132
126
103
119
26
25
23
20
23
Total
All Counties
520
522
558
512
521
100
100
100
100
100
 

“Prince George’s County is one of the largest counties in the region, and it has more vehicle miles traveled than any other county in the entirety of the Washington metro area,” Townsend said.

Vehicle Miles Traveled is a metric which measures the total number of miles driven by all drivers in a particular location.

With a large, spread-out county, such as Prince George’s County, people do a lot of driving there.

However, Townsend — speaking for AAA, which was created in 1902 to protect the rights and interests of drivers who pay dues — said change is needed in the county’s traffic safety culture.

The county has acknowledged its need to improve safety on its roads, establishing Vision Zero Prince George’s, with a mission statement aiming to have zero fatalities and serious injuries on its roadways by 2040.

Two Vision Zero task forces are already working: One is reviewing crash analysis reports to identify the county’s crash “hot spots” and propose roadway improvements. The second task force is working on public outreach efforts.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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