At a recent press conference, the Maryland Highway Safety Foundation (MHSF) was unveiled by Woody Collins, president of M&T Bank MidAtlantic Division and co-chairman of the Foundation; David Nevins, president of Nevins & Associates and co-chairman of the Foundation; and Fred Mirmiran, president of Johnson Mirmiran & Thompson and founding chairman of the new not-for-profit organization, according to a recent press release.

Amid a room littered with 615 pairs of shoes representing the number of deaths on Maryland’s roads in 2007, the foundation’s goals and vision were shared with a room of Maryland business, civic and government leaders. It was also announced that Reese Ruppersberger would lead the organization as the executive director.

Foundation leaders announced a call-to-action for 100 businesses in Maryland, representing at least 100,000 employees, to pledge change within their organizations related to motorist safety in the hopes of reducing highway deaths in Maryland by 100 over the next three years.

“The Maryland Highway Safety Foundation is an education organization established to change the culture of Maryland motorists by emphasizing that vehicles are indeed a potential weapon, and when abused either through driver error or negligence, can lead to severe injury and death, devastating families and communities,” said Nevins.

The formation of the Maryland Highway Safety Foundation was the result of a team of concerned business and civic leaders committed to working with government leaders to reduce highway deaths in Maryland, push public policy initiatives and educate the motoring public on safer driving practices. The mission of the Maryland Highway Safety Foundation is to educate motorists, prevent collisions and save lives.

“There is no greater or more sacred responsibility we have in State government than to protect and preserve the safety of our citizens,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. “The Maryland Highway Safety Foundation is a unique collaborative effort among our partners in the private-sector, demonstrating that it is the responsibility of all Maryland citizens to keep the roads of our State safe.”

Along with Governor O’Malley, dozens of other area leaders were on hand to support this new effort, including: John Porcari, Maryland Secretary of Transportation; Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger; Neil Pederson, Administrator of the State Highway Administration; Dr. Elizabeth Baker of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Caroline Cash, Executive Director of MADD Chesapeake Region (MD & DE); Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.; Speaker of the House of Delegates Michael E. Busch; Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith; Howard County Executive Ken Ulman; and Baltimore City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

“41,059 people were killed in car accidents in the U.S. with 615 fatalities in Maryland alone in 2007,” said Collins. “We hope to, through this foundation, dramatically reduce this number through education and legislation.”

“Preventing senseless deaths due to motor vehicle crashes is our number one priority,” said Mirmiran. “Through partnerships with the Maryland business community, we hope to encourage employers to implement programs and initiatives in the workplace that will support our efforts in keeping their staff and our highways accident free.”

“Keeping Maryland citizens safe and reducing accidents and injuries on our highways is of the utmost importance to the foundation’s leadership and our committed partners,” said Ruppersberger.

SOURCE: Maryland Highway Safety Foundation