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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 27, 2016

 

**REMINDER**

BICYCLE ACCESS ON HATEM BRIDGE BEGINS JULY 1

Share the Bridge & Cross with Care

Bikes Allowed Weekdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. & Weekends Dawn to Dusk

BALTIMORE, MD – As announced in February by Transportation Secretary and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Chairman Pete K. Rahn, bicyclists will be allowed to cross the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) starting Friday, July 1.  State transportation officials are urging bicyclists and motorists to Share the Bridge and Cross with Care

Bicyclists will be allowed to cross the bridge from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and from dawn to dusk Saturday, Sunday and state holidays.  Prior to crossing the bridge, bicyclists push a button to activate flashing warning lights that alert drivers when a bicyclist is crossing the bridge.  The lights will flash for 10 to 15 minutes, providing the bicyclist time to safely cross the bridge.

Bicyclists must ride in the direction of traffic and should position themselves in the center of the right lane.  Motorists are encouraged to use the left lane when warning lights are flashing.

Trucks over five tons still must use the right lane but may use the left lane to safely pass bicycles.  When the right lane on the bridge is closed for maintenance and construction, motorists and bicyclists will share the open left lane.  Bicyclists traveling eastbound will pay the $8 two-axle toll in the far right toll lane (cash and E-ZPass accepted).

Bicycle Access Restrictions

  • Bicyclists must be 18 years of age or older OR have a valid driver’s license.
  • Bicyclists are encouraged to ride single file and follow all rules of the road.
  • Bicyclists are not permitted to stop while crossing the bridge.
  • Pedestrians, skateboards, scooters and skates are not permitted.
  • When bicycle access is restricted in the event of fog, wind, other inclement weather or incident, notification will be made via variable message signs and on MDTA’s Twitter account at twitter.com/TheMDTA.

Note: Cyclists not wanting to cross the bridge by bicycle may still use a taxi or local bus service (weekdays only) to cross the bridge.

The Hatem Bridge is the oldest of the MDTA’s toll facilities.  The 1.3-mile, four-lane bridge opened in August 1940.  The posted speed limit on the Hatem Bridge is 45 mph.

For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA.  Find us at mdta.maryland.gov and on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 10, 2016

 

**REMINDER**

BICYCLE ACCESS ON HATEM BRIDGE BEGINS JULY 1

Share the Bridge & Cross with Care

Bikes Allowed Weekdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. & Weekends Dawn to Dusk

BALTIMORE, MD – As announced in February by Transportation Secretary and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Chairman Pete K. Rahn, bicyclists will be allowed to cross the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) starting Friday, July 1.  State transportation officials are urging bicyclists and motorists to Share the Bridge and Cross with Care

Bicyclists will be allowed to cross the bridge from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and from dawn to dusk Saturday, Sunday and state holidays.  Prior to crossing the bridge, bicyclists push a button to activate flashing warning lights that alert drivers when a bicyclist is crossing the bridge.  The lights will flash for 10 to 15 minutes, providing the bicyclist time to safely cross the bridge.

Bicyclists must ride in the direction of traffic and should position themselves in the center of the right lane.  Motorists are encouraged to use the left lane when warning lights are flashing.

Trucks over five tons still must use the right lane but may use the left lane to safely pass bicycles.  When the right lane on the bridge is closed for maintenance and construction, motorists and bicyclists will share the open left lane.  Bicyclists traveling eastbound will pay the $8 two-axle toll in the far right toll lane (cash and E-ZPass accepted).

Bicycle Access Restrictions

  • Bicyclists must be 18 years of age or older OR have a valid driver’s license.
  • Bicyclists are encouraged to ride single file and follow all rules of the road.
  • Bicyclists are not permitted to stop while crossing the bridge.
  • Pedestrians, skateboards, scooters and skates are not permitted.
  • When bicycle access is restricted in the event of fog, wind, other inclement weather or incident, notification will be made via variable message signs and on MDTA’s Twitter account at twitter.com/TheMDTA.

Note: Cyclists not wishing to cross the bridge by bicycle may still use a taxi or local bus service (weekdays only) to cross the bridge.

The Hatem Bridge is the oldest of the MDTA’s toll facilities.  The 1.3-mile, four-lane bridge opened in August 1940.  The posted speed limit on the Hatem Bridge is 45 mph.

For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA.  Find us at mdta.maryland.gov and on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contacts: MTA Media Relations
                 
Sandy Arnette: 410-767-8367
                 
Paul Shepard: 410-767-3935

 

MDTA Police Media Relations
                 
First Sgt. Jonathan Green: 410-977-5772

 

MDOT Media Relations
                
Erin Henson, Teri Moss: 410-865-1025

 

Maryland Department of Transportation Congratulates
Police Academy Graduates

 

New Police Officers to Protect Port, Airport, Transit, Tunnels, Bridges
and Tolled Highways

 

BALTIMORE, MD (JUNE 9, 2016) - The Maryland Department of Transportation and Secretary Pete K. Rahn congratulate this year's police academy recruit officers as they graduate tonight after finishing seven months of rigorous training and certification. Joint training was conducted by certified Maryland Department of Transportation' s Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) police academy training instructors. Police officers will protect Maryland's citizens and visitors, serving at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore and the Thurgood Marshall Baltimore/Washington International Airport, and transit facilities, and at the state's tolled tunnels, bridges and highways.

During the graduation ceremony at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium, police recruits were addressed, took the Oath of Office and received their badges designating them as police officers. Awards were presented to class members for exceptional performance during the training program.

The academy class of 19 MTA police recruits and four MDTA police recruits illustrates the strong working relationship between both agencies.

"As one MDOT, we're keeping Maryland's citizens and visitors safe and secure as they use vital transportation assets throughout the state from the port and the airport to transit and our tunnels and bridges," said Deputy Transportation Secretary R. Earl Lewis, Jr. "I know with each call and every person our officers help, their training, professionalism and integrity will be front and center."

"We are pleased this new class of MTA police officers will help build on our record of being the safest transit system in America with the lowest number of serious crimes for any major transit system in 2014 and 2015," said MTA Administrator/CEO Paul Comfort. "The state's police academy transit policing program highlights our commitment to achieving our goal of offering safe, efficient and reliable transit with world-class customer service."

"Partnering is critical to law enforcement," said MDTA Police Chief Colonel Jerry Jones. "The MDTA and MTA police forces serve side-by-side to protect Marylanders as they use our transportation system. I'm proud of our new officers and of our academy staff who worked diligently these last seven months to instill the core values and character these officers will rely on throughout their law enforcement careers."

Dignitaries who attended today's ceremony are Deputy Secretary Lewis, Deputy Secretary James

F. Ports, MTA Administrator/CEO Comfort, MDTA Executive Director Milt Chaffee, MDTA Police Col. Jones and MTA Police Col. John Gavrilis.

The MTA Police are among the top 12 transit police agencies in the nation with more than 200 sworn and civilian professionals. The MTA recently captured both the prestigious Gold Award for Safety and the Gold Award for Security from the American Public Transportation Association - awards given to agencies with the best overall bus safety or bus security programs.

The MDTA Police, a nationally accredited force, is the seventh largest law enforcement agency in Maryland with more than 600 sworn and civilian professionals. MDTA Police are responsible for law enforcement at the MDTA's highways, tunnels and bridges, the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore. The force is one of

15 law enforcement agencies nationwide that is certified through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) under its Tri-Arc Award of Excellence.

About the MTA

Maryland Department of Transportation's Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is one of the largest multi-modal transit systems in the United States. MTA operates Local and Commuter buses, Light Rail, Metro Subway, Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) Train service, and a comprehensive Paratransit (Mobility) system. MTA also manages the Taxi Access system, and directs funding and statewide assistance to Locally Operated Transit Systems (LOTS) in each of Maryland's 23 counties, Annapolis, Baltimore City and Ocean City. The MTA's mission is to provide safe, efficient and reliable transit across Maryland with world-class customer service. To learn more, visit mta.maryland.gov, check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/mtamaryland and follow us on Twitter @mtaamaryland.

About the MDTA

Since 1971, the Maryland Department of Transportation's Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) has been responsible for constructing, managing, operating and improving the State's toll facilities, as well as financing new revenue producing transportation projects. The MDTA's eight toll facilities - two turnpikes, two tunnels and four bridges - help keep traffic moving in Maryland. All of the MDTA's projects and services are funded through tolls paid by the customers who use MDTA facilities. For more than four decades, the MDTA has provided Maryland's citizens and visitors safe and convenient transportation facilities.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 9, 2016

 

SPEED CAMERA ENFORCEMENT BEGINS ON INNER LOOP I-695 IN NORTHEAST BALTIMORE

BALTIMORE, MD - As part of the Maryland SafeZones Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) program, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) and MDTA Police, in coordination with the Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration and Maryland State Police (MSP), will deploy ASE equipment for construction activities on the I-95 Express Toll Lanes (ETL) project in northeast Baltimore.

Beginning today, the ASE equipment will be deployed on eastbound I-695 (Inner Loop) between Exit 32 (US 1/Bel Air Road) and Exit 34 (MD 7/Philadelphia Road). This equipment will be used to slow drivers in the ETL work zone at the I-95/I-695 interchange. Advance warning signs are in place prior to the work zone to alert drivers of automated speed enforcement use, while a "speed trailer" will display drivers' speeds.

After a 21-day warning period, MSP will authorize citations starting Thursday, June 30. By law, if a vehicle is recorded as traveling 12 or more miles over the posted speed limit (the posted speed is 55 mph at this location), a $40 fine will be issued to the registered owner of the vehicle.

Maryland SafeZones' goal is to slow drivers and make work zones safer environments for workers, drivers and passengers. Even when workers are not present, work zones can be dangerous due to uneven pavement, lane shifts, reduced shoulders and other modifications. For more information on the program, visit safezones.maryland.gov.

The current work at the I-95/I-695 interchange will reconstruct and realign I-695 from US 1 to MD 7. The project is anticipated to be complete in fall 2016.

To view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov. For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA.

The MDTA thanks its customers for their patience and reminds them to Stay Alert So No One Gets Hurt!!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 24, 2016

 

SUMMER 2016 TRAVEL SEASON

KICKS OFF WITH MEMORIAL DAY

More Than 1.9 Million Motorists Anticipated To

Travel Maryland's Toll Facilities

 

BALTIMORE, MD - As the unofficial start to summer approaches, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds the more than 1.9 million motorists anticipated to travel MDTA roadways this holiday to plan ahead, travel off-peak and put safety first. This total represents a 6% increase in traffic counts compared to last year.

MDTA officials anticipate the following number of vehicles to travel its toll facilities between Friday, May 27, and Monday, May 30:

  • Bay Bridge (US 50/301) - more than 377,000.
  • John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) - more than 487,000.
  • Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95) - more than 500,000.

An additional 599,000 vehicles are projected to travel the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695), the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895), the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) and the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge (US 301) combined. All totals represent traffic in both directions.

The MDTA offers the following travel tips for this holiday weekend and throughout the summer months:

· Travel off-peak when heading to and from the Eastern Shore. The best times to travel the Bay Bridge this weekend include:

  • Thursday/Friday - before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  • Saturday - before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
  • Sunday/Monday - before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

· Spread Your Wings. Plan Ahead!

  • For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA. To view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov.
  • Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions. Visit baybridge.com to view traffic cameras and to sign up for email alerts.
  • E-ZPass Your Summer! Visit ezpassmd.com to enroll on-line and for a list of E-ZPass "On the Go" retail locations.
  • Need to rest or fuel up? Stop by the Maryland or Chesapeake House Travel Plazas along I-95 in northeast Maryland.

· Consider the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 and I-95 Express Toll Lanes (ETL) in Baltimore during your holiday travels. Visit mdta.maryland.gov for toll rates.

Keeping traffic moving as safely and efficiently as possible is the MDTA's priority. The MDTA Police will remain vigilant and target aggressive and impaired drivers, seatbelt violators and criminal activity. Officers will step up seatbelt enforcement during the Click It or Ticket Campaign from May 16 through May 31. Additional MDTA Police patrols will be on the lookout for impaired drivers at the Harbor and Fort McHenry tunnels and the Key Bridge on May 26 and at the Bay Bridge and the Intercounty Connector on May 27. Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.

The MDTA Police and Vehicle Recovery Units will have additional patrols on duty to respond quickly to incidents and disabled vehicles during the holiday weekend. In addition, the MDTA will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from 5 a.m. Friday, May 27, to 12 a.m. Tuesday, May 31.

For your SAFETY and the SAFETY of other motorists and emergency personnel:

· Devote your full attention to driving - it is illegal to text and use hand-held cell phones while driving in Maryland.

· Buckle Up! Every Seat. Every Time.

· State law requires vehicles to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle or tow truck using visual signals. If you are unable to move over, slow down.

· Obey posted speed limits and overhead lane-control signals.

· Avoid changing lanes while traveling over bridges and through tunnels.

· Headlights are required at all times on the Bay Bridge.

· Keep your eyes on the road - do not sight-see.

· Do not tailgate - keep a safe following distance.

· Make sure your vehicle is "road ready."

· If your vehicle becomes disabled, remain inside and call #77 for assistance.

· When contacting a dispatch center, motorists should be prepared to provide:

  • The location of the emergency;
  • A call-back telephone number; and
  • Details of the incident/disabled vehicle or other circumstances.

The E-ZPass Maryland Stop-in Centers and Customer Service Center will be closed on Monday, May 30. Visit ezpassmd.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824.

For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA.

The MDTA thanks motorists for partnering with us. Stay Alert So No One Gets Hurt!

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S&O2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 12, 2016

 

Governor Hogan Saves Marylanders

Estimated $345,000 A Year With E-ZPass

E-ZPass Transponder Prices Reduced by $1.50 Each

BALTIMORE, MD - Governor Larry Hogan announced today that he is putting thousands of dollars back into the pockets of hard-working Maryland families and businesses each year with a drop in the cost of E-ZPass Maryland transponders. The transponder price drop is one of 155 fee reductions and eliminations across state government that Governor Hogan announced today, saving Maryland businesses and taxpayers $60 million over the next five years.

"In January, we announced a measure to reduce fees across state government, saving Maryland taxpayers an estimated $71 million. Some parts of that package passed the legislature, but the General Assembly refused to go far enough, leaving it up to our administration to find additional savings that can quickly go into effect without the need for new legislation," said Governor Hogan. "Reducing and eliminating taxes, tolls, and fees not only helps to streamline state government, it has a direct impact on the livelihood of Maryland citizens. This is another step our administration is taking to follow through and do exactly what we said we would do. Our goal is to make it easier to live, work, and retire in our state, and continue to change Maryland for the better."

Effective July 1, 2016, the MDTA will reduce the cost of a standard E-ZPass Maryland transponder from $9 to $7.50. The change also drops the cost of a ready-to-use E-ZPass "On-The-Go" - which includes $25 in pre-paid tolls - from $34 to $32.50. The MDTA sells approximately 230,000 E-ZPass Maryland transponders annually statewide.

"This one change will pump more than a quarter of a million dollars back into our families and economy each year," said Transportation Secretary and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Chairman Pete K. Rahn.

"The MDTA Board has approved a contract modification that gives us a better cost on transponders. Passing this savings on to our customers was a given," said MDTA Executive Director Milt Chaffee.

E-ZPass Maryland offers drivers time savings, toll discounts and convenience, while reducing vehicle emissions at the state's toll facilities.

Learn more at ezpassmd.com. Get there faster with E-ZPass!

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mdotMaryland Department of Transportation

 

                       Roadway Fatalities Increase in Maryland and Across Nation

Officials Unveil New Strategic Plan to Reduce Traffic Crashes and Fatalities
Maryland's Goal: Toward Zero Deaths


Linthicum Heights, MD (April 26, 2016) - With several hundred federal, state and local traffic safety experts meeting at the 2016 Strategic Highway Safety Plan Summit to develop solutions to save lives on Maryland roadways, officials from the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Maryland State Police and National Safety Council today announced that in 2015, 520 people died in traffic-related crashes on Maryland's roadways. According to data collected by MDOT, the preliminary figure represents an increase from the previous year when 443 people were killed and follows a trend that has seen roadway deaths increase nationwide.

"This tragic increase in people killed on our roadways is unacceptable," said Deputy Transportation Secretary Jim Ports. "For all of us dedicating our lives to highway safety, this increase in fatalities is a call to action to strengthen and expand our efforts to save lives on our roads."

Along with a rise in overall fatalities, Maryland experienced the following increases:

  • 35 percent increase in commercial vehicle-related fatalities;
  • 26 percent increase in young driver-involved fatalities; and
  • Double the number of bicycle fatalities from 5 in 2014 to 10 last year.

"Police officers in Maryland recognize the important mission we have in reducing traffic crashes," Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel William Pallozzi said. "Our strict enforcement of traffic laws is a daily reminder to drivers that our laws are in place for their safety and violation of those laws impacts the safety of everyone on our roads. Our goal continues to be changing driver behavior by enforcement that is focused on those areas and driving behaviors where the need is greatest."

The data was announced at an event to formally kick off Maryland's implementation of a five-year plan to combat traffic crashes and the resulting serious injuries and fatalities. Known as the Maryland Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), the effort brings together local, state, and federal partners and organizations such as the National Safety Council, AAA, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, AT&T, and numerous other corporate, non-profit, and public sector partners. The SHSP contains more than 30 separate strategies to reduce overall roadway fatalities by at least 50 percent in the next two decades. The Plan emphasizes solutions from the "Four Es" of highway safety - Engineering, Enforcement, Education, and Emergency Medical Services - and comprehensively addresses the troubling increase in roadway fatalities.

"We lose 100 people every day on our nation's roadways, and every single one of these deaths is preventable," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "This uptick in crashes is serving notice: We need to prioritize our safety. Driving defensively and staying alert can help us reverse this trend in 2016."

To reduce congestion, enhance roadway safety and fix all structurally deficient state-owned bridges, Governor Larry Hogan allocated nearly $2 billion in highway funds targeted to long-awaited improvements throughout the state. These improvements, along with recently announced roadway investments, include:

  • $24 million to improve 11 Salisbury Bypass bridges;
  • $81 million to reconfigure the MD 175/MD 295 interchange;
  • $86 million to widen US 113;
  • $100 million to reduce traffic gridlock along I-270;
  • $120 million to widen MD 404 from US 50 to the Denton Bypass; and
  • $152 million to widen a nine-mile stretch of MD 32.

The Hogan administration also is investing millions in targeted law enforcement strategies aimed at catching and arresting drunk drivers and educational campaigns focused on impaired driving, pedestrian safety, seat belt use and distracted driving. MDOT recently expanded a statewide campaign to help fight driver distraction by installing 26 signs prior to
13 rest areas alerting motorists of Maryland's law that prohibits the use of handheld electronic devices while driving.

"It Can Wait!" is written in large letters on the signs to remind drivers that their call/text can wait until they reach the next rest area.

Officials at today's event highlighted areas that have historically been leading causes of deaths on Maryland's roads, including:

  • Impaired driving;
  • Speeding;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Not wearing seat belts; and
  • Not using crosswalks.

MDOT and its partners remind everyone of a few simple rules that will help save lives:

  • Always drive sober. Use a designated driver, call a cab or rideshare, or use public transportation but never drive if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Park the phone before you drive. Driver distraction contributes to nearly 30,000 injuries and more than 200 deaths per year in Maryland.
  • Always buckle up! It's the single most important way to save your life in a crash.
  • Slow down. Speeding will not get you where you want to go that much faster, but will contribute to a much greater likelihood of injury or death in a crash.
  • Use crosswalks and bike lanes. Being visible on the road is especially important for pedestrians and bicyclists. Wear bright clothing, obey the rules of the road while on a bicycle, and cross where drivers expect to see you. When driving, always look for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Look twice for motorcyclists. Motorcycles are sometimes more difficult to see so please look twice for them when changing lanes or pulling into an intersection.
  • Respect Maryland's work zones. Speeding and distracted driving through work zones is dangerous to workers and to other motorists.
  • Move over. Drivers approaching from the rear of an emergency vehicle that is stopped on a highway must move over into the other lane, if possible, and slow down.

                                                                        # # #

Note: Maryland's Toward Zero Deaths campaign focuses on preventing impaired driving, aggressive driving and distracted driving and promotes seatbelt use. For more information on the Toward Zero Deaths campaign, please visit towardzerodeathsmd.com .

tzd

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 19, 2016

  

KEY BRIDGE SHORELINE CLEANUP AT

MDTA POLICE HEADQUARTERS THIS SATURDAY

Last Chance To Sign Up THURSDAY

BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), the agency that finances, owns, operates and maintains the state's eight toll facilities, will host an Earth Day “shoreline cleanup” this Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the MDTA Police Headquarters near the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695).

Come help your neighbors and local volunteers clear the shoreline of debris that has washed ashore and let’s do our part to help beautify the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  All volunteers must register by 11 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, using the following link: https://mdtashoreclean.eventbrite.com.

Shuttle service will begin at 8 a.m. at the Key Bridge parking lot at 305 Authority Drive, Baltimore, MD 21222.  The last shuttle to the shoreline will depart the Key Bridge parking lot at 8:30 a.m.  Volunteers will be brought back via shuttle to the Key Bridge at the end of the event.

  • Volunteers must be 13 years of age or older.  Individuals under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult: one adult for every four minor children.
  • Waivers must be signed and submitted at the time of registration on Saturday.  Waivers will be emailed to volunteers who have pre-registered and also will be available at the volunteer site.
  • Clothing should be comfortable.  Long pants and long-sleeved shirts are suggested.  Comfortable yet sturdy shoes with good ankle support and rubber soles should be worn.
  • Gloves, vests, collection equipment and drinking water will be provided.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2016

 

Distracted Driving Month Kicks Off With Coordinated Effort to Save Lives


Officials Launch Statewide Signage Campaign to Remind Motorists: It Can Wait!
Rest Areas Designated as Safe Zones for Texts and Calls

 

I-95 Maryland House Travel Plaza - April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and officials with the Maryland Department of Transportation today joined representatives from the Maryland State Police (MSP), Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police, AAA and AT&T to launch a coordinated statewide effort to save lives by unveiling new highway signs designating rest areas as safe texting and calling zones. Handheld cell phones are the leading cause of distracted driving, which results in nearly 29,000 injuries and more than 230 deaths each year in Maryland. The state is in the process of installing 26 signs prior to
13 rest areas alerting motorists of Maryland's law that prohibits the use of handheld electronic devices while driving. It Can Wait! is written in large letters on the signs to remind drivers that their call/text can wait until they reach the next rest area.

"Handheld cell phones have proven to be lifesavers, but when it comes to driving, these devices can be deadly," said Motor Vehicle Administrator and Governor Hogan's Highway Safety Representative Christine Nizer. "These signs will serve as a visible reminder to motorists that their calls and texts can wait."

Driver distraction is involved in 58 percent of all crashes on Maryland roads and nearly half of all fatal crashes. Nationwide, eight people are killed and more than 1,100 injured EVERY DAY due to distracted driving.

"The MDTA is pleased to unveil this important campaign's first signs on I-95 at the Maryland and Chesapeake House travel plazas," said MDTA Executive Director Milt Chaffee. "The MDTA Police also are stepping up distracted-driving enforcement and education at Maryland's bridges, tunnels and toll roads this month."

"Citations for distracted driving can be as much as $160 and can also include points on a driver's license," stated Lt. Colonel Anthony Satchell of the Maryland State Police. "Drivers who cause crashes when they use a handheld cell phone are subject to penalties of up to one year in jail and a fine of $5,000."

"Encountering a distracted driver on the roadway is the biggest traffic safety concern facing Maryland motorists, even more so than drunk drivers, drugged drivers and aggressive drivers, according to a recent poll conducted by AAA," said Ragina C. Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA. "Forty-two percent of survey respondents indicated that distracted driving was their most important traffic safety concern in 2016."

"Since we launched the It Can Wait campaign, we've been working with organizations across the state to remind all drivers about the dangers of texting while driving," said AT&T Maryland President Denis Dunn. "We're excited to team up with the State of Maryland to help better spread the word to keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone because It Can Wait."

Today's launch included a driving simulator that illustrated the dangers of distracted driving to visitors at the Maryland House Travel Plaza. A statewide media campaign aimed specifically at preventing handheld cell phone use while driving also was unveiled at the event. Throughout April, radio spots, billboards and social media will highlight the life-threatening aspects of distracted driving.

Here's how to curb distracted driving:

  • Park the phone before you drive.
  • Make any calls or texts before you start driving or pull into a Maryland Rest Area or other safe place to make the call/text.
  • Keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
  • Ride Responsibly. If you're a passenger, and your driver is texting or making calls, ask them to stop.
  • Drive Defensively. Just because you don't drive distracted doesn't mean that others won't.
  • Always buckle up! It's the single most important way to save your life in a crash.

                                                                               # # #

Note: Maryland's Toward Zero Deaths campaign focuses on preventing impaired driving, aggressive driving and distracted driving and promotes seatbelt use. For more information on the Toward Zero Deaths campaign, please visit towardzerodeathsmd.com .

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 18, 2016

 

MDTA TO SOLICIT INTERESTED PARTIES FOR

THIRD GENERATION ELECTRONIC

TOLL-COLLECTION SYSTEMS

Request for Comments Sought for the RFPs

 

BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) today announced that it will be seeking comments on two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to develop and operate the third generation of its electronic toll-collection systems.  The MDTA anticipates issuing a Request for Comments via eMaryland Marketplace on March 30 to solicit feedback on the procurement of its Toll System and its Customer Service Center System.

“This is a significant contracting opportunity, particularly as MDTA will be awarding separate contracts for tolling technology/operations and customer-service technology/operations,” said MDTA Executive Director Milt Chaffee.  “Seeking industry input will allow us to refine and deliver the best RFPs possible.”

The MDTA will hold two business forums to present and discuss details regarding the procurements and offer site visits of its customer-service and toll facilities:

  • Customer-Service System Forum - Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 1 p.m.
  • Tolling System Forum - Thursday, April 7, 2016, 9:30 a.m.

Both events will begin at the MDTA’s offices at 2310 Broening Highway in Baltimore.  To register for one or both of the forums, please contact the MDTA’s Division of Procurement at mdtaprocurement@mdta.state.md.us.

Interested firms should register on eMarylandMarketplace at https://emaryland.buyspeed.com/bso/ to receive notice of the Request for Comments’ availability.  The MDTA plans to issue the final RFPs this summer.

The new Toll System will include replacement of the existing toll-lane terminals and all associated hardware and software, while the new Customer Service Center System will include establishing, staffing and managing a customer service center for E-ZPass Maryland operations.  Each system includes a development and installation phase, transition to the new system, six years of operations, 2 two-year renewals of operations and a one-year phase out. 

Learn more about the MDTA at mdta.maryland.gov and about E-ZPass Maryland at ezpassmd.com.  Find us at twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA.

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