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Pedestrian accidents in Maryland leads to changes on U.S. 1

In College Park, Maryland, there is a problem. A spate of pedestrian accidents has brought out experts who are calling for new lighting, signs and a media campaign to help students who attend the University of Maryland practice safe street crossing.

On U.S. Highway 1 particularly, there have been three fatal pedestrian accidents in the past six months. Students say that they are used to cars stopping for them on campus, and this thinking carries through to the area outside campus.

University executives want to change the way students think and act in this type of condition. Better lighting and signage are on the way. The college is working in conjunction with the State Highway Administration to make this happen.

Students are scheduled to return in droves when the fall semester begins and the officials at the UM want the changes implemented before that. One official said that the death rate due to pedestrian accidents in this area is unacceptable.

A message to students must be made, and it must be clear. They want the students to understand that while the campus traffic yields the right-of-way to students, those drivers on Highway 1 do not.

One 21-year-old female was crossing U.S. 1 and was struck and killed by a minivan. The driver was charged with negligent vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and reckless endangerment. He had a blood-alcohol level almost twice the legal limit of 0.08.

Another student, a 22-year-old male, was also killed on the highway in January. This was a hit-and-run, and the driver has never been located.

Warnings have been placed on the road for drivers. Signs that say, "State law-stop for pedestrian crosswalks" and "Do not block intersection" have been put up.

On the sidewalk, signs warning walkers read "No pedestrians" and "No pedestrian crossing" have been placed. They have also repainted the crosswalks at all intersections.

The state has trimmed back tree limbs and has also modified signals so that pedestrians don't have to wait as long to cross.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you don't have to go it alone. You may want to contact a professional who knows the laws of Maryland and can help you seek the assistance you need to cover medical bills and lost wages.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "University of Maryland, city officials urge pedestrian safety on U.S. 1" Colin Campbell and Pamela Wood, Jul. 07, 2014

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