PIKESVILLE, Md. — With St. Patrick’s Day coming up on Thursday, Maryland State Police are urging those who plan to celebrate with alcohol to be safe and smart and avoid impaired, distracted and aggressive driving.
With an increase in impaired drivers expected throughout the state this week, state police will be conducting saturation patrols at each of the 23 barracks focusing on impaired, aggressive and distracted driving. Enforcement will be bolstered by impaired driving saturation patrol funds from the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office.
The initiatives, which will take place on various days through March 20, include saturation patrols in areas known to have a higher number of DUI crashes or arrests. These efforts in many cases will include partnering with allied law enforcement and other state agencies to both enforce the law and offer outreach to the community through social media and electronic billboards.
Among those initiatives:
- The Maryland State Police North East Barrack will be targeting drug-related impaired driving along Route 40 in Cecil County.
- The MSP Salisbury and Berlin Barracks will be working with allied agencies throughout Wicomico County and the lower Eastern Shore as part of the area’s “Border to Border” unity enforcement effort. In addition, the Princess Anne Barrack will have a DUI checkpoint on March 17th.
- The Forestville Barrack will be conducting high visibility enforcement initiatives targeting speeding, distracted driving and seatbelt violators.
- Troopers from the Bel Air Barrack will be working with the Harford Traffic Task Force to saturate the Bel Air area, with High Visibility Enforcement on state routes around Bel Air.
- In Western Maryland, troopers from the Cumberland Barrack will focus manpower on DUI enforcement through the weekend, with an emphasis on previously identified “High Crash” and “Impaired Driving” areas.
- Members of the State Police Impaired Driving Reduction Effort, or SPIDRE Team, will be assisting with the coordination and operation of the checkpoints. The SPIDRE Team, funded by the MDOT MVA Maryland Highway Safety Office, is a full-time team of troopers who focus solely on impaired driving enforcement.
- The SPIDRE Team will be partnering with the Baltimore County DUI Team to conduct a joint DUI enforcement initiative. Enforcement patrols will be on, but not limited to, the following roadways in Baltimore County: I-695, MD 43, US Rt 1 and MD 150. These roadways have been identified by the Maryland Highway Safety Office as having a high concentration of DUI/Impaired driving collisions.
According to the Maryland Department of Transportation 120 people died on Maryland’s roads from impaired driving crashes in 2020. Impaired drivers injured more than 2,600 in 2020. These deaths and injuries were preventable.
If you are attending a St. Patrick’s Day gathering:
- Designate your sober driver in advance and give that person your car keys.
- If you’re planning on driving, avoid drinking.
- Consider using public transportation, call a taxi or use a ride-share service if you don’t have a sober driver.
- Don’t let a friend drive if you think they are impaired.
- If you see someone who you believe is driving impaired, call police.
- Always buckle up.
- Don’t text, use a cellphone that is not hands-free or drive distracted.
If you are hosting a St. Patrick’s Day gathering:
- Remember, you can be held liable if someone you served alcohol to ends up in an impaired-driving crash.
- Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages
- Ensure sober drivers or alternative modes of transportation are set up in advance for guest who are planning to drink alcoholic beverages.
- Have contact information for local taxi companies readily available.
- Take away the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving impaired.