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December 30th, 2022 by WCBC Radio

With New Year’s Eve coming up on Saturday, Maryland State Police are urging those who plan to celebrate with alcohol to be safe and smart and avoid impaired, distracted and aggressive 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 will be bolstered by impaired driving saturation patrol funds from the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office.

The initiatives, which will take place on various days through New Year’s, 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 both enforce the law and offer outreach to the community through social media and electronic billboards.

Among those initiatives:

  • The Waterloo Barrack will focus on crash reduction and DUI enforcement efforts on Interstate-70 and Interstate-95 in Howard County.
  • North East Barrack troopers will focus their DUI saturation patrol efforts on US Route 40, Maryland Route 272 and Maryland Route 273 in Cecil County.
  • Westminster Barrack troopers will focus on DUI enforcement efforts throughout Carroll County, specifically on Maryland Routes 140 and 26.
  • LaPlata Barrack troopers will focus patrol efforts in Waldorf, Maryland, specifically on US Route 301 and Maryland Routes 5 and 228.
  • Easton Barrack troopers will focus efforts on DUI enforcement, specifically on US routes 50 and 404. Additional grant funding will focus on DUI enforcement in Talbot and Dorchester counties.
  • Annapolis Barrack troopers will focus efforts on DUI enforcement on Maryland Route 50 and I-97, specifically areas identified as hot spots, while also assisting the Annapolis Police Department with Annapolis “First Night" activities.
  • Troopers from the Forestville Barrack will conduct DUI saturation patrols in designated hot spots, with a focus Route 5 and I-495 within southern Prince George's County.
  • Troopers from the Hagerstown Barrack will focus on impaired driving throughout the holiday. Additional troopers will concentrate on aggressive and impaired driving on I-70 and I-68.
  • Troopers from the Centreville Barrack will be patrolling US Route 301 and the US Route 50 corridor with a focus to include aggressive driving and DUI enforcement.
  • Berlin Barrack troopers will continue aggressively patrolling Worcester County for impaired/distracted driving, with an emphasis in West Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Route 50.
  • McHenry Barrack troopers will concentrate efforts on DUI enforcement and crash prevention through the holiday weekend in Garrett County. They will focus efforts on I-68 and Route 219. 
  • Troopers from the Princess Anne Barrack’s enforcement activities will consist of DUI saturation patrols, primarily along US Route 13 and Maryland Route 413 in Somerset County.

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office, 173 people died on Maryland’s roads from impaired driving crashes in 2021. Impaired drivers injured 2,802 people in 2021. These deaths and injuries were preventable.

If you are attending a New Year’s Eve 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 New Year’s Eve 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 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.