As St. Patrick’s Day approaches on March 17, Maryland State Police are urging those who plan to celebrate with alcohol to be safe and smart and avoid impaired and distracted driving.
With an increase in impaired drivers expected throughout the state this weekend, state police will be conducting saturation patrols at each of the 23 barracks focusing on impaired, aggressive and distracted driving. Enforcement this weekend will be bolstered by impaired driving saturation patrol funds from the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office.
Initiatives will 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. Additional troopers will be assigned as needed. Last St. Patrick’s Day weekend, state police made 88 DUI arrests, 37 criminal arrests and 12 CDS arrests. Troopers also issued 888 speeding citations, 100 seat belt citations and 2,365 other citations.
The State Police Impaired Driving Reduction Effort Team, otherwise known as the SPIDRE team, will also be out in full force this weekend. From March 8 to 11 alone, the SPIDRE team made 17 DUI arrests. Since its inception in May 2013, the SPIDRE team has made 2,604 DUI arrests, 123 criminal arrests and 7,988 traffic stops while also issuing 17,709 citations and 3,852 warnings. The goal of the SPIDRE team is to focus on reducing alcohol related crashes in Maryland by targeting areas across the state with high crash rates involving impaired drivers.
Every year more than 160 lives are lost in Maryland in crashes involving impaired drivers and thousands more are injured according to the Maryland Department of Transportation. Make sure that if you drink, you don’t drive and if you drive, don’t drink this weekend.
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 an 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.