(PIKESVILLE, MD) – Although July 4th is not until next Wednesday, Maryland state troopers will begin a statewide increased traffic enforcement initiative this weekend in an effort to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries during the upcoming holiday period.
Beginning this weekend, each of the 22 Maryland State Police barrack commanders will be deploying special drunk driving patrols that will continue throughout the July 4th holiday. This means additional troopers will be on patrol specifically targeting drunk drivers in an effort to identify and apprehend them before their driving behavior impacts the safety of others.
Special patrols will also be targeting speeding and aggressive drivers. State Police commanders have reviewed crash data for their area and are deploying these additional patrols in the locations where the most crashes have occurred.
In addition to the additional focused patrols, all troopers working regular patrol shifts are being assigned special traffic enforcement patrols when not responding to calls for other police services. Drivers can expect to see traffic enforcement efforts by troopers underway wherever they travel throughout Maryland.
Troopers in patrol cars and on motorcycles will also be responding as quickly as possible to traffic crashes or areas of congested traffic and working with State Highway Administration personnel to eliminate the cause or arrange detours around the situation. Troopers will also be on the alert for disabled vehicles and providing assistance to keep motorists on the move. State Police helicopter crews will also be observing traffic for potential problems when returning from medevac missions.
“Maryland is a great place to live, visit, and have fun during the summer, but unfortunately, there are those who use holiday events as opportunities to overindulge and ultimately threaten the safety of others on our roads and highways,” Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus L. Brown said. “We are prepared to meet the demands of increased traffic and increased highway hazards with extra troopers and focused patrols aimed at keeping motorists on our highways safe. I urge everyone traveling this holiday not to drink and drive, to obey the speed limits, and always buckle up.”
Motorists can expect to see State Police enforcement not just in daylight hours, but around-the-clock. A study by the Maryland Highway Safety Office shows that slightly more than half of all fatal crashes occur between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., when only 20 percent of all vehicle travel occurs. Of those fatal crashes occurring between 8:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., almost half of those who died (48 percent) were drivers or passengers who were not wearing seatbelts. State troopers are joining their allied law enforcement partners in nighttime seat belt enforcement efforts and are reminding motorists that seat belts save lives at all times, not just during the day.
Since summer also means an increase in pedestrians, State Police are also reminding citizens from Coastal Highway to the shores of Deep Creek Lake to use caution whenever walking along a roadway. Cross only at intersections or designated crosswalks and always be on alert for traffic. Drivers are also urged to be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially those who may not be using their best judgment in resort areas.
In addition to driving safely, motorists can assist Maryland State Police with keeping our highways safe by reporting dangerous drivers. Using a hands-free phone when safe to do so, motorists can report unsafe highway drivers to State Police by dialing #77 and reporting their location, a description of the unsafe vehicle, and its direction of travel. Drivers are reminded not to engage with or attempt to stop unsafe drivers on their own. Troopers will do their best to locate the unsafe vehicle and take the appropriate enforcement action.
Most of the additional troopers working focused patrols during the holiday period will be on overtime funded by state and federal grants. Those grants are coordinated through the Maryland Highway Safety Office.