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Rate of traffic deaths on increase

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The number of people killed in traffic accidents this year in Anne Arundel County increased by 41 percent over the first six months of last year, with the number of pedestrian deaths going up sharply, county police said yesterday.

Twenty-four people were killed between Jan. 1 and July 5, compared with 17 during the same period in 1994. Eight pedestrians have been killed this year; three persons were killed by this time last year.

The number of multiple vehicle accidents increased from five to eight. Single-vehicle accidents stayed the same at five, as did the number of bicycle fatalities -- one per period.

Three of the single-vehicle accidents occurred when motorcycle riders ran off the road into fixed objects. All the riders died, despite wearing helmets, police said. Four people killed in other vehicles had seat belts on when they crashed.

Alcohol figured in eight of 1995's fatalities, the same number as for 1994. Three pedestrians, one bicyclist and four drivers used alcohol.

Four of the eight multiple vehicle accidents happened when at least one of the drivers involved failed to yield the right of way. The other four occurred when at least one of the drivers failed to stay in his or her lane, police said. Six of the fatalities in the pedestrian/bicycle category were caused by pedestrian error. Three other cases are under review.

There have been 22 crashes this year, two of which involved multiple deaths, police said.

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