As many Marylanders know, Indian Head Highway/Route 210 is notorious as one of the state’s most dangerous roadways. Over the past 11 years, 65 people have lost their lives in horrific crashes there. An illegal drag race that took advantage of the straight highway ended in horror in 2008 when eight people died. Last year, in 2018, five people were killed on the highway, according to figures from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration. Among the tragic fatalities were three young children from the same family who died just weeks ago on December 30 when the car they were riding in was rear-ended. The investigation into that accident is ongoing.
Increased Law Enforcement
There has been a larger police presence on the highway, handing out tickets for speeding and other dangerous driving violations in recent years. But in spite of increased law enforcement, the number of accidents has not changed significantly, the data shows. In 2016, there were 336 crashes; in 2017 there were 329; and last year there were 354. Nevertheless, local police and lawmakers are vowing to add even more police to the route this year.
A speed camera was put in place on the highway last year at Old Fort Road, and some county government officials are asking to have more installed to try to help stem the tide of accidents; but getting funding for additional cameras may be a tough battle. County officials point to the responsibility of the state to help take steps to improve safety, because Route 210 is a state highway. In a recent article in the Washington Post, Prince George County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks was quoted as saying, “We will be working with the governor and with the state who also have a responsibility to make sure that our families are safe when they’re driving down this road.”
Poor Design & Infrastructure
Other serious problems exist with the design and infrastructure of the highway itself. Local police officials have noted that the infrastructure of the highway lends itself to poor outcomes. Indeed, the approximately 13-mile-long, straight highway varies from four to six lanes and has a 55 mph speed limit for much of its length, in spite of having stoplights along the route. The frequently congested roadway is a thoroughfare for the metropolitan area and also serves surrounding neighborhoods. It’s been observed that frustrated drivers speed along the highway’s shoulders to avoid traffic and make it through traffic lights before they turn red, adding to the already dangerous driving conditions.
What is the answer to solving the problems on this deadly highway? Hopefully, the state will do the right thing and provide funding for more cameras, and state and local officials can work together to implement additional safety measures. Drivers themselves must also think safety first when they are using the highway. It will take a collective effort to reduce accidents and the number of lives lost on this treacherous highway.
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If you or someone you love has been the victim of an accident, Steve Heisler may be able to help. Call us today at 410-625-4878 for a free initial consultation, or use our convenient and confidential form.