(PIKESVILLE, MD) – Maryland State Police are gearing up for the week between Christmas and New Year’s with additional troopers on patrol using a variety of initiatives to urge both motorists and pedestrians to use common sense, take responsibility, and be more courteous on Maryland’s roadways.
Between today and January 2, troopers from each of the 23 Maryland State Police barracks statewide will be focusing enforcement efforts on impaired driving, aggressive driving, speeding, distracted driving, and other violations that often contribute to highway tragedies, especially during holiday seasons. Additional troopers will be working overtime assignments through New Year’s Eve funded by highway safety grants from the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office.
Along with DUI saturation patrols and checkpoints focused on high crash and impaired driving areas throughout the state, many barracks will also have community-specific efforts. This includes:
- The Waterloo Barrack will be using grant funded overtime to augment patrols and conduct DUI enforcement on I-95 and I-70 in Howard County.
- The Frederick Barrack will concentrate enforcement efforts on impaired, aggressive and distracted driving in high crash areas.
- The Cumberland Barrack will focus on impaired driving crashes and high crash areas along Interstate 68.
- The Bel Air Barrack will conduct aggressive and distracted driving enforcement on Routes 1, 40 and 24. New Year’s DUI enforcement will concentrate on the town of Bel Air area.
- The Salisbury Barrack will concentrate enforcement efforts along US Routes 50 and 13 in known high crash areas.
- The Hagerstown Barrack will be conducting high visibility patrols through the week. Troopers will concentrate efforts on Route 70 while also being vigilant with seat belt enforcement throughout the holiday week.
- The Centreville Barrack will concentrate enforcement efforts along US Routes 50 and 301.
- The Prince Frederick Barrack will conduct high visibility enforcement with a special emphasis on impaired and aggressive driving in areas the barrack has classified as DUI/collision hot spots.
- The Princess Anne Barrack will primarily focus on its designated DUI hit spots, which include US Route 13 and 413.
The State Police Impaired Driving Reduction Effort Team, otherwise known as the SPIDRE team, will also be out this week. 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.
In addition to working enforcement in cooperation with local police departments, troopers will be working closely with personnel from the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration. SHA provides significant help arranging detours at crash sites and conducting courtesy patrols to assist motorists.
Those using alcohol during upcoming celebrations are urged to make plans for a sober driver to take them home before they begin drinking. Multiple transportation options are available for those who will be drinking that keeps them from behind the wheel.
In 2020, 548 people died as a result of a vehicle crash in Maryland. Those deaths included 120 from impaired driving, 55 from aggressive driving, and 205 from distracted driving. Those crashes represent just a fraction of the more than 95,000 crashes reported in Maryland last year.
It is estimated to cost someone arrested for impaired driving about $10,000 for legal fees, fines, lost wages, and multiple other reasons. That cost is just for a simple arrest. If a crash is involved, the cost goes up exponentially, since a price cannot be placed on a life lost.
Here are some tips for both motorists and pedestrians to help reduce the chances of fatalities on Maryland roads:
Safety Tips for Drivers
- Look for pedestrians walking along the roadway and at crossings and intersections.
- Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks as required by Maryland law.
- Be careful passing stopped vehicles. If a car is stopped at a marked crosswalk, stop and look for crossing pedestrians as required by Maryland law.
- Slow down and obey the posted speed limit.
- Yield to pedestrians when turning.
- Use extra caution at night when it may be harder to see pedestrians attempting to cross the road.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
- Walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, always walk on the side of the road facing traffic.
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks and at intersections. Many pedestrian crashes occur at midblock locations where drivers do not expect pedestrians.
- Obey traffic signals, including pedestrian signals.
- Before crossing, look left, right and left again to make sure you can cross safely.
- Look before stepping past stopped vehicles. They may be blocking your view of moving traffic.
- Stay visible after dark and in bad weather. Help drivers see you by wearing retro-reflective material in low lighting conditions. This includes those wearing costumes while trick-or-treating.
- Use caution around any vehicle backing out of parking spaces and driveways.