(PIKESVILLE, Md.) – As Christmas and New Year’s quickly approaches, Maryland State Police are reminding motorists about the dangers of driving impaired and driving distracted.

Through Nov. 30, there have been 97 DUI-related fatalities reported in Maryland, including 33 that were investigated by Maryland State Police. This compares to 97 statewide (44 investigated by Maryland State Police) over the same period in 2016.

In recent weeks, troopers have investigated multiple crashes that have led to fatalities, multiple injuries and/or extended lane closures and traffic delays. Just consider the following:

  • On Dec. 11, a four-vehicle crash in Talbot County led to two people being flown to Shock Trauma. Katie Cray Long, 43, of Centreville, Md.  is being investigated for driving under the influence as she was driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of U.S. Rt. 50 when she struck three vehicles, including one head-on, according to investigators. (See photos below)
  • On Dec. 7, Taylor Anne Halbleib, 21, of Hughesville, Md. died after being involved in a three-vehicle crash on MD Rt. 6 in Charles County. According to investigators, the driver at fault was Daniel Juwan Butler, 22, of Newburg, Md. The preliminary investigation indicates that Butler was driving eastbound on MD Rt. 6, west of Cooksey Road when the crash occurred. Butler for unknown reasons failed to stop, striking Halbleib’s car in the rear, which was then pushed into another car. Speed and alcohol are believed to be contributing factors in this crash, according to investigators.

Troopers from each of the 23 Maryland State Police barracks who patrol every county will continue to focus enforcement efforts on impaired driving, aggressive driving, speeding, distracted driving and other violations that often contribute to highway tragedies, especially during the holiday season.  Additional troopers will be working overtime assignments funded by highway safety grants from the Maryland Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office.

Extra holiday traffic this week through New Year’s includes additional Maryland state troopers who will be using a variety of patrol initiatives to keep traffic moving, respond quickly to highway incidents and take appropriate enforcement action when violations are observed that threaten the safety of travelers.

Through Nov. 30, state police have made 6,508 DUI arrests, compared to 6,816 over the same period in 2016. In regard to distracted driving, troopers have made 36,269 traffic stops and issued 16,934 citations and 19,334 warnings through Nov. 30. This compared to 31,644 traffic stops and issuing 15,434 citations and 16,210 warnings for distracted driving in 2016.

Among those assisting with this effort will be the State Police Impaired Driving Effort, or SPIDRE, team. The targeted law enforcement program was launched in May 2013 and focuses on reducing alcohol related crashes in Maryland by targeting areas across the state with high crash rates involving impaired drivers. Since its inception in May 2013, the SPIDRE Team has made 2,480 DUI arrests, 115 criminal arrests and issued 16,893 citations.

Troopers urge motorists to avoid impaired driving and plan for a designated driver or a sober ride home. Help us keep Maryland highways safe throughout this holiday season.