An average of more than 54,000 distracted driving crashes occurred on Maryland roads each year between 2016 and 2020, and the number of fatal crashes in the state involving distracted driving increased by 12% from 2019 to 2020. Teen drivers are particularly susceptible, with nearly 4,700 drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 involved in a distracted driving crash in Maryland in 2020. In addition, more than 700 teens were seriously injured and 10 were killed in 2020.
Through a grant from GHSA and General Motors, the Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO) identified data collection, enforcement, infrastructure, legislation, outreach, and vehicle engineering and technologies as key strategies to combat distracted driving.
MHSO used the grant funding to bring the teen-focused, evidence-based distracted driving prevention program, ThinkFast Interactive (TFI), to the state. TFI uses a trivia-based game show based on active learning theories to connect teens with factual and relevant safety information. MHSO partnered with Washington College to use the Risk Analysis of Vehicle Environmental Network (RAVEN) to evaluate county-level distracted driving statistics and identify high-risk areas where TFI would be presented.
Ongoing Project Impact
Washington College provided MHSO with detailed maps of distracted driving crashes to determine which high schools to target for the program. Of the 22 high schools with a high rate of distracted driving crashes, nine were subsequently selected to participate in the TFI program, reaching over 2,900 students. MHSO noted the importance of ongoing youth-based educational programs and plans to fund mock crash events at various high schools, furthering distracted driving education opportunities.