History of Fatal Traffic Accidents on Maryland Rte 32 Prompts Discussion on Adding Lanes in Clarksville

With one of the most deadly holidays — traffic-wise — behind us, it’s perhaps a good idea to review the dangers facing motorists these days. Car, truck and motorcycle collisions happen all of the time, but for some of us we find it hard to accept that people are dying in traffic wrecks all across the country on a daily basis; and maybe while you are reading this very sentence.

As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my colleagues understand that nobody can eliminate traffic deaths completely, save removing every car, bike and commercial delivery truck from the roadways. But as we have alluded, that is not a practical solution to the problem of highway fatalities in Maryland and across this great country.

Over in Clarksville, the stretch of Rte 32 between Interstate 70 and Rte 108 has long been the scene of many a fatal traffic wreck. Yet people are still arguing over what should, could and might be done to make that section of roadway safer for individuals and families living in the area or just passing through.

Now that the New Year is upon us, maybe it’s time to take up the question of expanding that section of road in an effort to improve the well-being of drivers and passengers who traverse that strip of asphalt on a regular basis. Not too long ago, we ran into an article which asked the public to weigh in on what to do with that stretch of apparently dangerous roadway.

According to the article we saw, that latest discussion was prompted by another of the numerous fatal accidents that has occurred in that area over a number of years. That crash involved a 68-year-old motorist who was killed along a stretch of Rte 32 during an early morning commercial trucking accident.

Based on reports, the truck-car accident happened a little past 8am in Howard County, MD, as the Ellicott City resident was driving his Jeep north along Rte 32. According to police, the collision apparently occurred when the driver of a northbound commercial flatbed truck lost control of the larger vehicle as it slid across the centerline and collided with the victim’s sport utility vehicle.

News reports indicated that the crash resulted in critical injuries to the driver of the smaller Jeep. Emergency personnel arriving on the scene likely stabilized the victim before transporting him to Howard County General Hospital. Unfortunately, doctors at the medical facility were apparently unable to save the man, who died a short time later from his fatal injuries.

News articles stated that the roadway was closed in both directions following the fatal roadway collision so that police accident investigators could perform a thorough analysis of the crash. as police investigate the crash and it is not expected to reopen for a number of hours.

As we mentioned, this particular crash reopened a discussion of the relative safety of the roadway in this area. Back in 2004, a number of graduate students at UMBC conducted an extensive study of the road where this fatal accident occurred — the approximately five miles between MD 108 in Clarksville and Tridelphia Rd. in Glenelg.

As part of their results, the students noted that safety data for that portion of Rte 32 indicated that there were approximately 125.9 accidents per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) compared to the state average of 100.1 accidents per 100 VMT. Although the data showed that the road was not severely dangerous when compared to other roadways of its type (on a statewide basis); however, the average for a four-lane road was only 38.5 accidents for every 100 million VMT.

It appears, for this reason, that the calls to widen and expand this stretch of road to a four-lane route are being discussed more vigorously.

Poll: Should MD 32 Expand to Four Lanes Through Clarksville?, Patch.com, November 20, 2012
UPDATE: Driver Dead in Route 32 Crash, Patch.com, November 13, 2012

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