Wednesday, November 12 2008 @ 06:28 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
By Len Lazarick Examiner Staff Writer 10/31/08
Charles Stoecker, a Baltimore County farmer who founded the Baltimore City Farmers Market, was killed this past year when a teen driver who was speeding and texting on a cell phone struck the car he was driving.
A pair of his shoes was among the 615 empty pairs lined up for the announcement of the new Maryland Highway Safety Foundation. Each set of footwear came from a victim killed in road accidents this past year
Maryland officials announced a new driver safety initiative Thursday amid a pair of shoes from every state resident killed on the roads last year.
The new foundation is hoping to “change the culture” of Maryland drivers, David Nevins, a public relations executive and co-chairman of the new foundation said, during a news conference in Annapolis.
Most Marylanders don’t own guns, collect knives or routinely handle other deadly weapons, “except when we get behind the wheel of a car,” he said.
“Our problem is cultural and behavioral,” said foundation Co-Chairman Fred Mirmiran.
Mirmiran, president of Johnson Mirmiran & Thompson, an engineering consulting firm, had pushed the idea of the foundation on the 100th anniversary of the State Highway Administration.
“We want to cut that [615 number] in half,” he said.
One solution is having at least 100 Maryland businesses, representing a total of at least 100,000 employees, to take a pledge to encourage safer driving by their workers.
Mirmiran said that would include mandating:
» Not serving alcohol at corporate events;
» No texting while driving and no speeding;
» Driver training for any employee who gets a speeding ticket on the job.
Maryland traffic deaths are down again this year, as they were last year, and the state ranks 42nd in the country in terms of fatalities, said Gov. Martin O’Malley, but “let’s chase after that No. 50 ranking.”
Judge Katie O’Malley, the governor’s wife, is honorary chairwoman of the new foundation.
[While traffic fatalities may be down, pedestrian fatalities are up, Maryland now ranks the 4th worst state (up from #8 last year) with the highest percentage of pedestrian fatalities.]