Skip Navigation

Skip to Main Content

MDTA News Releases

MDTA News Releases with RSS Feed
Date: Aug 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 29, 2013

Contact:  1st Sgt. Kevin Ayd, 410-537-7724

     

MDTA POLICE RELEASE INVESTIGATION REPORT
FOR JULY 19 CRASH AT BAY BRIDGE

Distracted Driving Found To Be Cause of Crash

BALTIMORE, MD – Today, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police released the collision reconstruction report detailing the July 19, 2013, crash at the Bay Bridge (US 50/301). The investigation concluded that the primary cause of the crash was distracted driving on the part of the commercial-vehicle driver.

“Without a doubt, the MDTA’s priority is the safety of its customers and employees. This crash demonstrates how critical it is that motorists devote their full attention to driving when operating motor vehicles,” said MDTA Police Chief Colonel Michael Kundrat. “A primary reason for crashes on the Bay Bridge is from tailgating.  Maintaining a proper following distance is one of the simplest things drivers can do to stay safe and keep other motorists safe.”

On July 19 at 8:24 p.m., a three-vehicle crash occurred on the eastbound Bay Bridge.  The crash involved an International truck/tractor pulling a semi-trailer, a Chrysler Sebring passenger car and a Mazda CX-5 SUV. 

The tractor-trailer operator, 29-year-old Gabor Lovasz of Canada, indicated to investigators that his attention was directed to his driver’s side mirror due to flashing headlights behind him.  When he looked forward again he noticed that the vehicles in front of him were stopping.  He attempted to steer the tractor trailer to the left to avoid contact, but struck the left rear of the Chrysler, pushing it up onto the top of the barrier wall.  A second impact from the tractor trailer then pushed the Chrysler over the wall, and the car fell approximately 27 feet into the shallow waters of the bay.  The Mazda also was struck by the tractor trailer during the crash.

The investigation revealed that the Chrysler had slowed to approximately four mph when it was struck by the tractor trailer.  Based on a data download of the tractor’s Engine Control Module and Antilock Braking System, investigators believe that it was traveling between 47 and 51 mph just prior to the crash. Vehicle inspections by the Maryland State Police Automotive Safety Enforcement Division and MDTA Police Commercial Vehicle Safety Unit indicated no mechanical defects were present at the time of the inspections following the crash.

Mr. Lovasz had emigrated from Hungary to Canada as part of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program, and his trip through Maryland was his first time driving unaccompanied in the U.S.  The MDTA Police are charging him with failure to control speed to avoid a collision ($130 fine), unsafe lane changing ($130 fine), negligent driving ($280 fine) and speed greater than reasonable and prudent on highway ($130 fine).

The operator of the Chrysler, 23-year-old Morgan Jade Lake of Sunderland, Md., was able to unbuckle her seat belt, free herself from the vehicle and swim to safety at a nearby bridge pier abutment.  She was transported via Medevac to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where she was treated for minor injuries. Neither    Mr. Lovasz nor the driver and passenger in the Mazda were injured.

The July 19 crash report also references a crash from April 13, 2013, in the same location on the eastbound span involving two passenger vehicles.  The April crash involved a vehicle coming to rest on the barrier wall. There were no injuries or structural damage to the bridge from the April crash.

“Both the April and July crashes were a direct result of distracted driving.  Every one of us has immense responsibility behind the wheel,” said Col. Kundrat. “With two similar incidents over the last few months, we are taking a closer look at this area of the bridge to evaluate what can be done to enhance safety. We’re analyzing potential strategies including flashing Congestion Ahead signs, requiring headlight use during two-way traffic operations and additional rumble strips.”

In the 60-year history of the Bay Bridge, the April and July crashes are the only known incidents where passenger vehicles rode up and rested on the barrier wall or went into the water.  Overall, the safety record on the Bay Bridge is four times safer than the Statewide rate.

The NTSB issued its Preliminary Report on Aug. 19, 2013.  The NTSB has the MDTA’s full cooperation as it works to issue a final report.  A timeframe for the completion of the final report has not yet been determined.

The MDTA Police’s collision reconstruction report is available online at mdta.maryland.gov.  The MDTA Police will have increased patrols over the Labor Day Holiday weekend at the Bay Bridge and all MDTA facilities with a focus on aggressive and distracted driving.

Additional Information:

### 

The Maryland Transportation Authority Police, a nationally accredited force, is the seventh-largest law-enforcement agency in the State, with more than 600 sworn and civilian law-enforcement professionals. MDTA Police officers provide law enforcement at the Authority’s highways, bridges and tunnels; at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport; and at the Port of Baltimore.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 22, 2013

Contact:          Cheryl Sparks                                                                 

 410-537-1017                                                   

                                                                                   Ikeando

HEAVY LABOR DAY WEEKEND TRAFFIC

ANTICIPATED AT MDTA TOLL FACILITIES

 

BALTIMORE, MD -- As summer comes to an unofficial close, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds the nearly 1.8 million motorists anticipated to travel its facilities over the Labor Day holiday weekend to plan ahead; travel off-peak; and Drive Smart.  Arrive Safe.  This total represents a one percent increase in traffic volumes compared to last year.

MDTA officials anticipate the following number of vehicles to travel its toll facilities between Friday, Aug. 30, and Monday, Sept. 2:

  •          William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge (US 50/301) – more than 333,000.
  •          John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) – more than 436,000.
  •          Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95, I-395) – more than 452,000.

An additional 550,000 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:

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

  •          Thursday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  •          Friday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  •          Saturday – before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
  •          Sunday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  •          Labor Day Monday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

·         Don’t Wing It.  Plan Ahead! 

  •          Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions.
  •          Visit baybridge.com to view traffic cameras at the Bay Bridge and to sign up for email alerts.
  •          Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA.
  •          Ease your travel with E-ZPass.  Visit ezpassmd.com to enroll on-line and for a list of E-ZPass “On the Go” retail locations.
  •          Know Before You Go - call 511 or visit MD511.org for statewide travel information.  To view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov.
  •          For current toll rates, visit mdta.maryland.gov and click on Toll Rate Calculator.  The cash toll rate for two-axle vehicles at the Bay Bridge is $6.

Those traveling in or around Downtown Baltimore should note that the Baltimore Grand Prix will bring additional traffic to the area Friday through Sunday and may result in major delays on I-95 during peak travel periods.  Motorists whose destinations are north or south of the city are urged to use I-895 or I-695 to avoid Downtown traffic.  Portions of I-395 will be closed between Wednesday, Aug. 28 and Tuesday, Sept. 3.  Consider public transportation – Light Rail, Metro Subway and Local Bus provide transit options.  Visit mta.maryland.gov for more information.

Reminder:  The Maryland House travel plaza along the JFK Highway is closed for redevelopment and is expected to reopen fall/winter 2013.  The Chesapeake House remains open for fuel and food services.

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.  The MDTA Police and Vehicle Recovery Units will have additional patrols on duty to respond quickly to incidents and disabled vehicles. 

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

  •          Pay attention to new lane markings and rumble strips on the Bay Bridge westbound span.  Lane changes between the westbound left and center lanes are prohibited for the entire span, whether or not two-way operations are in effect.
  •          Obey posted speed limits and overhead lane-control signals.
  •          Devote your full attention to driving – it is illegal to text and use hand-held cell phones while driving in Maryland.
  •          Keep a safe following distance to avoid rear-end collisions.
  •          Do not change lanes while traveling over bridges and through tunnels.
  •          Keep your eyes on the road – do not sight-see. 
  •          Make sure your vehicle is “road ready”-- one disabled vehicle can cause extensive backups.
  •          If your vehicle becomes disabled, remain inside and call #77 for assistance.
  •          Move-over when passing an emergency situation.  If you are unable to move over, slow down.
  •          The MDTA Police will continue to enhance highway safety and target aggressive drivers during the fourth wave of the Smooth Operator Program from Sept. 1 through Sept. 7.  

The MDTA will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28, to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3.

In accordance with the State’s budget-reduction plan, MDTA offices will be closed on Friday, Aug. 30, including the E-ZPass Maryland Stop-in Centers and Customer Service Center.  Visit ezpassmd.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824 to sign up for E-ZPass, update account information or make payments via credit card.  Offices will reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

 

The MDTA thanks motorists for their patience.  Stay Alert So No One Gets Hurt!

 

###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 19, 2013

 

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

 

Statement from Maryland Transportation Authority on

National Transportation Safety Boards Initial Report

from Investigation of July 19 Bay Bridge Crash

 

Baltimore, MD The MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) was notified today that the National Transportation Safety Boards Office of Highway Safety released their initial report for their investigation of the

July 19, 2013, accident on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  In response, Acting MDTA Executive Secretary Bruce Gartner offers the following statement:

 

"The NTSB has the full cooperation of the MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) as investigators prepare their final report and recommendations related to the Bay Bridge crash on July 19.  NTSBs initial report issued today does not indicate any structural concerns for the barrier type used on the Bay Bridge and on interstate bridges across the country.

The MDTA Police investigation, conducted in coordination with Maryland State Police, is nearing completion.  The MDTA Police Collision Reconstruction Unit expects to release its report within the next two weeks.  At that time, they will provide the cause and sequence of the crash, along with any charges.

Safety does not take a vacation.  We urge all drivers to partner with us and to put safety first when traveling the Bay Bridge.  Motorists can be assured that the MDTA will persist in looking for ways to improve safety at all of its bridges, tunnels and highways."

 

###