The Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO) organized a safety seminar on Thursday, April 30, for members of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Region 3, which includes Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. BMC staff presented the LOOK ALIVE regional pedestrian and bike safety campaign and law enforcement training in support of the education campaign. Over 120 participants from across the region attended the online seminar.
Jeff Dunckel with the MHSO provided an overview of statewide pedestrian fatalities, which have been on an increasing trend since 2015, rising from 99 to 133 in 2018. During the same period, the Baltimore region went from 48 to 68 pedestrian fatalities. Between 2014 and 2018, three jurisdictions in the Baltimore region (Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County) were among the top five for number of pedestrian involved injury/fatal crashes in Maryland. The same three are also among the top five for pedestrian involved fatalities by jurisdiction.
Bala Akundi, Principal Transportation Engineer at BMC, and Kenna Swift Williams of Sherry Matthews Group, provided an overview of the development of the LOOK ALIVE campaign starting in early 2019 through its launch in June and over the fall/winter. The campaign began as two video-spots featuring signal woman – a personification of the walk signal – and conveyed messages to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. The 2020 campaign included media pitches for law enforcement activations in November that garnered significant media coverage including a WBAL feature with BMC Executive Director Mike Kelly.
The COVID-19 pandemic postponed elements of the campaign, such as the spring enforcement wave. One of the last Look Alive events was on March 7 at the B’More Healthy Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center. This joint event with Baltimore City DOT and MDOT SHA featured a Virtual Reality (VR) challenge.
BMC, in partnership with Baltimore County Police Department and MHSO, organized four law enforcement-training workshops between May 2019 and February 2020 and trained over 100 officers from across the region/state on how to conduct pedestrian enforcement activations. Following each of these sessions were multiple waves of enforcement that resulted in positive media coverage, citations and warnings.
BMC is looking forward to working with MHSO and local partners in continuing the LOOK ALIVE campaign during the rest of the year and into 2021.