MSP Troopers Pushing to Reduce Fatal Accidents


HAGERSTOWN, Md. - A cross and flowers mark the place where Esther Bitner died after a head-on collision near Leitersburg Pike last week. Her death is one of three fatalities in just 10 days in Washington County.

A growing trend that concerns Maryland State Troopers.

"We're the only county in Maryland that has not seen a decrease in fatalities in the last three years," said Lt. Michael Fluharty, Commander for the Maryland State Police Hagerstown Barrack.

So far this year, there have been 16 fatalities. A rate that's double the number of accidents from the same time last year.

"Unfortunately the collisions are all over the place, it's not specific," said Fluharty. "However, we do see a trend and increase in distracted driving and aggressive driving. Those are the two things that as law enforcement we can hit directly. We can go after, we can be stricter on how we issue citations and how we enforce those violations."

State troopers will be teaming up with other county law enforcement agencies to help crack down on traffic violations but they say, drivers can do their part too.

"Distracted driving can be anything," said Fluharty. "Don't eat while you're driving, don't drink while you're driving, you know, put your work down while you're driving. Focus on the road and that's going to reduce crashes."

And Lieutenant Fluharty said these deaths are more than just a growing statistic but an impact on a family.

"That's probably the saddest part of the whole equation as every time there's a fatality or death on the road, it's affecting a family. You know while we're going to investigate the best we can, that family has to deal with that for the rest of their life," said Fluharty.

An effort increasing awareness and patrols with the hope of decreasing scenes like the one last week.

Troopers say there will be several days this summer when multiple agencies will patrol together to help enforce traffic violations.

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