(PIKESVILLE, MD) – Maryland state troopers are encouraging motorists to celebrate the New Year responsibly by not drinking and driving, but for those who don’t heed the warning, additional troopers will be on patrol beginning today and continuing through New Year’s Day.
Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus L. Brown has directed commanders to initiate specific drunk driving enforcement operations in areas where traffic crashes and incidents of impaired driving arrests are highest. Every trooper on patrol throughout the holiday will be on the alert for drunk drivers, in addition to those troopers working sobriety checkpoints and DUI saturation patrols.
“Our focus will be on locating and arresting impaired drivers as we work to keep Maryland roads safe during the holiday,” Colonel Brown said. “The 171 alcohol related deaths last year in Maryland are tragic reminders that drunk drivers continue to be a significant threat on our roads. There is no excuse for drunk driving and we will accept none. Drunk drivers will be arrested and charged, hopefully before they have caused another tragedy.”
Causing the death of someone else because of impaired driving is no way to start the New Year. During the 2011 New Year’s holiday period of December 30, 2011 through January 3, 2012, there were six fatalities on Maryland roads. Two of those fatalities involved impaired drivers.
The holiday season is a particularly dangerous time of year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 2,500 people lost their lives in crashes and 775 of those crashes involved impaired drivers in December 2010.
Colonel Brown and state troopers are encouraging drivers to be responsible this season to ensure their New Year’s celebration does not end in tragedy. Drivers should plan ahead. Designate a sober driver before the festivities begin. If you plan to drink, do not plan to drive. Call a sober friend, a family member, or use public transportation. If you know someone who has been drinking, do not let them get behind the wheel. If you see a driver you think is impaired or driving a vehicle in an unsafe manner, keep a safe distance and call 9-1-1.
The additional State Police patrols coincide with the Maryland Highway Safety Office initiative “Towards Zero Deaths” and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiative “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”. Overtime funding for additional patrols is provided by grants from the Maryland Highway Safety Office.