Local Police Plan Sobriety Checkpoints for Coming Weekend

SOUTHERN MARYLAND (March 11, 2008)—Police in all three southern Maryland counties have announced that they will be conducting sobriety checkpoints this coming St. Patrick's Day weekend. The operation to combat drunk drivers will be conducted within a five state area to include the District of Columbia, with funding provided by the “Checkpoint Strikeforce” project.

St. Patrick’s Day is a popular night to celebrate with friends and family but intoxicated drivers make the holiday a dangerous one. Last St. Patrick’s Day, 44 percent of the 105 drivers and motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes nationwide had blood alcohol content levels of .08 or above, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is not disclosing the times or locations of their checkpoints, but signs on the roadway will advise motorists as they approach them. Officers will check all vehicles that pass through the checkpoints. Drivers who are found to be intoxicated will be arrested. The La Plata Barrack of the Maryland State Police will also conduct checkpoints.

“Don’t count on luck when it comes to drinking and driving,” said Sheriff Rex Coffey. “You risk being arrested or worse, killing yourself or other motorists. It’s not about luck; it’s about taking responsibility and finding a safe way home.”

The Calvert County Sheriff's Office says that they will be conducting DUI sobriety checkpoints at various undisclosed locations throughout Calvert County over the weekend.

In a written statement, the Sheriff's Office said: "We believe that a substantial benefit will continue to be gained from the use of sobriety checkpoints. Increasing the impaired driver's perceived risk of detection may deter him or her from driving while under the influence or while impaired by alcohol or drugs."

Drunk driving is one of America’s deadliest problems. In 2006, according to NHTSA, 42,642 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Of that number 13,470 people were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

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