July 24, 2013

Contact: Cheryl M. Sparks, 410-537-1017


Statement from Maryland Transportation Authority on National Transportation Safety Boards Decision to Conduct Investigation into July 19 Bay Bridge Accident

Transportation Authority Welcomes Independent Review to Ensure Safety of Motoring Public


Baltimore, MD - The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) was notified today by the National Transportation Safety Boards Office of Highway Safety on their decision to launch an investigation in response to the July 19, 2013, accident on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  In response, Acting MDTA Executive Secretary Bruce Gartner issued the following statement:

"We welcome the NTSBs involvement in our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of motorists crossing the Bay Bridge.  We are constantly looking for ways to make crossing the span as safe as possible.  From major physical upgrades to public information efforts designed to target distracted driving and speeding, our customers should know that we are committed to their safety and that we will work closely with NTSB staff during their investigation.  We appreciate Senator Barbara Mikulskis advocacy on this issue, including her call for NTSB to look into this accident."

The average number of crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is significantly lower on the Bay Bridge than it is on statewide roads.  From 2008 to 2011, the bridge averaged 43 crashes per 100 million VMT compared to the statewide average of 166 crashes per 100 million VMT.  The bridge carried approximately 28 million vehicles last year.

The NTSBs involvement follows last Fridays accident in which a car traveling on the eastbound span was pushed over the jersey barrier by a tractor trailer.  The MDTA Polices Crash Reconstruction Unit is working closely with the Maryland State Police to determine the exact cause of the accident.

The Bay Bridge crosses the Chesapeake Bay along US 50/301. Its dual spans provide a direct connection between recreational and ocean regions on Marylands Eastern Shore and the metropolitan areas of Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, D.C. At 4.3 miles, the spans are among the worlds longest over-water structures. The original span opened in July 1952 and provides a two-lane roadway for eastbound traffic. The parallel structure opened in June 1973 and has three lanes for westbound travelers.