(Pikesville, MD) -- Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus L. Brown has ordered the deployment of additional State Police DUI enforcement efforts in each county beginning today to coincide with the increase in drinking and driving that occurs as a result of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
“Unfortunately, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations increase the number of drunk drivers on our roads and the risk of highway tragedies resulting from drunken driving crashes,” Colonel Brown said. “We want everyone to enjoy the celebrations, but act responsibly. Be certain you make plans ahead of time to arrange for a sober driver to transport you, whether that is a friend, cab driver, or transit driver. Stick to those plans. If you do not, a very sober state trooper or local police officer will quite possibly be driving you from the scene of your arrest.”
During previous St. Patrick’s Day weekends, DUI arrests by state troopers have doubled what they are on a normal day. Troopers and local law enforcement officers will be working together throughout the state to strictly enforce Maryland’s drunk driving laws.
Lt. Colonel Jerry Jones, Chief of the Field Operations Bureau, reports that most enforcement will occur this weekend through special patrols of troopers working areas known to have high numbers of DUI arrests or crashes, also known as saturation patrols. Troopers will also be staffing four sobriety checkpoints.
“Each of our 22 barrack commanders is deploying special patrols focused entirely on identifying and arresting drunk drivers,” Colonel Jones said. “Our goal is to find a drunk driver before he or she causes a crash that ends in tragedy.”
The State Police Impaired Driving Effort, known as the S.P.I.D.R.E. Team, will also be on patrol throughout the weekend. This team, funded by the Maryland Highway Safety Office, consists of the best drunk driving enforcement troopers in the State Police. They will also be focusing their patrols on areas known to have a potential for a high number of drunk drivers.
In Maryland, a first offense for driving under the influence could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and a sentence of up to one year in jail. In addition, the violation would mean 12 points on the offender’s driver’s license and a license revocation for six months. Driver’s licenses are confiscated by police from those refusing to take a blood alcohol test and from those whose test result is .08 or higher.
Those planning to drink alcoholic beverages are urged to make plans to get home safely before they begin drinking. Options include arranging for a sober driver, to whom you gave your keys, to drive you home; use a taxi; call a friend or family member to pick you up; or use public transportation.
State troopers are urging motorists to contact police if they see a driver who might be operating under the influence. Troopers and allied law enforcement will make every attempt to locate the driver and take the appropriate enforcement action.
Many of the additional troopers deployed by State Police will be on overtime and funded through a DUI enforcement grant from the Maryland Highway Safety Office. All troopers on regular patrol duty will also be on the alert for drunk drivers.