Governor Larry Hogan announced that local police departments would be among the 90, or so, agencies and organizations across the state receiving a portion of the $12 million in federal highway safety funds earmarked for reducing crashes and related injuries and deaths.
The Montgomery County Police Department would receive $228,500 of the funds; the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office will receive $7,500, and the Gaithersburg Police Department will receive $25,000.
According to MCPD spokesman Rick Goodale, the funding is grant money which the department receives every year and is used to support federal highway initiatives on focused enforcement for the "Click It or Ticket" seatbelt campaign, impaired driving campaigns, PED safety campaigns, and aggressive driving enforcement campaigns within the County.
The largest chunk of the funding will be going to the Maryland State Police. The MSP will receive $796,110 for statewide enforcement, while the MSP’s SPIDRE DUI Unit which focuses on reducing alcohol related crashes in Maryland by targeting areas across the state with high crash rates involving impaired drivers. The MSP SPIDRE DUI Unit will receive $782,450 in federal funding.
“The safety of our citizens and visitors is a responsibility we take extremely seriously, and our administration will continue to make investments to make our roadways safer,” said Governor Hogan. “This funding continues our commitment to address traffic safety challenges and get unsafe, impaired, and distracted drivers off the road.”
In 2017, there were 557 deaths as a result of traffic crashes in Maryland. The funds distributed through the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office will help fund the following traffic-safety efforts:
• Increasing the use of seat belts in all seating positions;
• Preventing impaired, aggressive, and distracted driving;
• Increasing the safety of pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists;
• Promoting the correct use of child passenger safety seats;
• Funding overtime enforcement of Maryland’s traffic laws;
• Supporting police training for highway safety and traffic enforcement; and
• Increasing capability and efficiency of Maryland’s traffic data systems.
Maryland’s five-year Strategic Highway Safety Plan guides the funding of traffic safety-related projects and will be used by state and local agencies and non-profit groups to address the strategies set forth in the plan for meeting the Toward Zero Deaths goal of cutting the number of deaths on Maryland roads in half by 2030. The state is also working with various Maryland jurisdictions to develop local SHSPs that address community-specific traffic issues and complement the broader plan.
“The only acceptable goal is to reduce the number of traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities to zero,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn.
File photo by Germantown Pulse