St. Patrick’s Day may still be a few days away, but Maryland State Police troopers are working coordinated statewide special impaired driving enforcement initiatives that begin today and continue through the holiday.
Maryland State Police Acting Superintendent Colonel William M. Pallozzi today announced a statewide focus on finding and arresting impaired drivers before their bad decisions impact the safety of others on Maryland roads. “Beginning today, troopers across the state will be involved in a variety of enforcement efforts, all with the goal of identifying and apprehending impaired drivers,” Colonel Pallozzi said. “Deploying additional troopers and working in coordination with local law enforcement agencies will reduce the risk of an impaired driving tragedy by increasing the potential impaired drivers will be arrested and taken off the road before those tragedies occur.”
Troopers at each of the 22 State Police barracks in Maryland will be involved in multiple initiatives from today through March 17th. Operations include saturation patrols in areas known to have a higher number of DUI crashes or arrests, and sobriety checkpoints, which are also conducted in locations where experience indicates they are most appropriate. Dozens of additional troopers will be supplementing the regular patrol force. Some of the troopers will be working overtime, funded by DUI enforcement grants through the Maryland Highway Safety Office.
The State Police Impaired Driving Effort, or SPIDRE Team, a full-time DUI enforcement squad, will be busy throughout the period. Many of the operations will be conducted with county police, municipal officers, and sheriff’s deputies. Police will be working together to create a perception of ‘omnipresence’ and increase the opportunities for spotting and arresting drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Police in Maryland made more than 20,000 impaired driving arrests in 2014. More than one-third of those arrests were made by Maryland state troopers. From March 14-18, 2014, state troopers arrested 166 impaired drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, someone dies in an alcohol-impaired crash nationally every 51 minutes. On St. Patrick’s Day from 2009 to 2013, 276 people died in drunk driving crashes. Sure, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but don’t depend on luck to get you home safely. Those planning to celebrate this weekend or early next week should make plans before the party begins. Those who wait often end up forgetting and have no plan in place.
Identify a designated driver who will not be drinking, make other transportation arrangements, or plan to stay over at the celebration location. Those who think cab fare is too expensive are reminded the average DUI arrest will end up costing you about $10,000 and that is with no traffic crash involved. There is no excuse for impaired driving and state troopers will be accepting none.