BALTIMORE, MD—As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, Maryland State Police are reminding those who plan to celebrate with alcohol to keep safety in mind and avoid impaired, distracted, and aggressive driving.
Holidays can lead to an increase in the number of impaired drivers across the state. Maryland State Police will conduct saturation patrols at each of the 23 barracks, focusing on impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers, starting this weekend.
Initiatives include saturation patrols, especially in areas known to have a higher number of DUI crashes or arrests and sobriety checkpoints which will be conducted in locations where experience indicates they are most appropriate. Additional troopers will be assigned as needed.
During last year’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Friday, March 15 through Sunday, March 17, 2019, state police made 134 DUI arrests, 29 criminal arrests, and 33 drug-related arrests. Troopers also issued 1,001 speeding citations, 102 seat belt citations and 3,059 other citations.
The State Police Impaired Driving Reduction Effort Team, otherwise known as the SPIDRE team, will also be out on patrol this weekend. Since its inception in May 2013, the SPIDRE team has more than 2,900 DUI arrests, 130 criminal arrests, and nearly 9,000 traffic stops while also issuing close to 20,000 citations and about 4,500 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.
According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, 485 people died on Maryland’s roads and roughly one-third of those involved impaired driving in 2018. Impaired drivers injured 3,000 people in 2018. A majority of 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 guests who are planning to drink alcoholic beverages.
- Have contact information for local taxi companies readily available.
- Take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving impaired.