Cover Photo: What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than with green beer? Please do so responsibly.
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up on Friday, Maryland State Police are urging those who plan to celebrate with alcohol to drink responsibly and avoid impaired, distracted and aggressive driving.
With an expected increase of impaired drivers throughout the state this week, troopers at all 23 Maryland State Police barracks will conduct saturation patrols, focusing on impaired, distracted and aggressive driving. A portion of the costs associated with the increased enforcement efforts will be paid through impaired driving saturation funds provided by the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office.
The initiatives, which will take place on various days, beginning Wednesday, March 15 through Sunday, March 19, include saturation patrols in areas known to have a higher number of DUI crashes or arrests. These efforts, in many cases, will include partnering with allied law enforcement and other state agencies to enforce the law and offer outreach to the community through social media and electronic billboards.
Among those initiatives:
- Troopers from the Cumberland Barrack will be conducting DUI saturation patrol on Route 40 and I-68 in Allegany County with an emphasis on previously identified high crash and impaired driving areas.
- Troopers from the Bel Air, JFK and North East barracks, will be conducting joint DUI saturation patrols in key areas throughout Cecil, Harford, and Baltimore counties.
- Troopers from the Annapolis Barrack will focus DUI enforcement efforts on Route 50 and I-97 in Anne Arundel County.
- Troopers from the Westminster Barrack will focus DUI enforcement efforts on feeder routes from Baltimore County into Carroll County, including Route 140, Route 26, Route 30, and Route 91.
- The Leonardtown Barrack will be conducting a combined traffic initiative with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, with high visibility enforcement on state routes.
- The Princess Anne Barrack will be working with allied agencies throughout the lower Eastern Shore as part of the area’s “Border to Border” initiative.
According to the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office, between 2017 and 2021, an average of 169 people died and 2,998 were injured annually as a result of impaired driving crashes in the state. Those deaths and injuries were preventable.
If you are attending a St. Patrick’s Day gathering:
- Designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your car keys
- If you’re planning to drive, avoid drinking
- Consider using public transportation, call a taxi or use a ride-share service IF you don’t have a sober driver
- Do not let a friend drive if you think that they are impaired
- If you see someone who you believe is driving impaired, call police
- Always buckle up
- Do not 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 away the keys from anyone who is thinking of driving impaired
Always remember, if you’re going out tonight, so are the State Police. Don’t push your luck this St. Patrick’s Day. Make a plan and be the driver who saves lives.
Original article by Maryland State Police