Zero Tolerance for Drivers Under The Influence This July 4th Weekend
July 2, 2010For many Marylanders the July 4th holiday means hot weather, flags and fireworks. Unfortunately, for some it will mean tragedy. To help make everyones holiday weekend safer, the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and the Maryland Sheriffs Association are pleased to join with the Maryland State Highway Administration and state and local law enforcement agencies in support of Marylands initiatives to reduce impaired driving fatalities. Police chiefs throughout the state have teamed up and developed a comprehensive strategy to help protect citizens from drunk drivers. Large-scale and targeted drunk driving saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints will be in place throughout the Fourth of July weekend. Agencies intend to arrest anyone operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Drunk driving crashes are not accidents. They are not victimless crimes. What they are is preventable, states Sheriff Mike Evans, President of the Maryland Sheriffs Association.
Far too often Independence Day festivities have turned from memorable celebrations to unforgettable tragedies at the hands of impaired drivers. Nationally there were a total of 491 traffic-related fatalities during the 2008 July 4th holiday period. Of those fatalities, 43 percent involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher. Along with the excitement and activities of warm summer months, especially busy holidays, comes an unfortunately higher frequency of impaired drivers on the road. In Maryland, during the July 4th weekend in 2008, there were a total of 97 alcohol-related crashes, resulting in 80 injuries and two fatalities.
Law enforcement agencies have prepared a comprehensive approach including highly visible sobriety checkpoints throughout the State. Less visible, yet highly effective, will be an increased presence of patrol vehicles actively seeking out impaired drivers in areas that have traditionally experienced high numbers of drunk driving arrests or crashes. Police chiefs have made it clear that if you are caught driving a car, truck or motorcycle while impaired, there will be serious repercussions. There is no allowance for second chances when alcohol-impaired-driving is one of America's most often committed and deadliest crimes. In 2008 there were 11,773 Americans killed in crashes involving a driver with a .08 BAC or higher32 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year.
Colonel George Johnson, President of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association urged all Marylanders to practice personal responsibility when planning their holiday activities. There is no excuse for the carnage that occurs on Maryland roads as a result of impaired driving, especially when there are so many alternatives to getting home after a night of drinking.
Before the evening festivities begin, make plans to secure a sober ride home. Other recommended options include designating a sober driver, taking public transportation, or utilizing Baltimores free Tipsy?Taxi! service (www.FreeCabRides.org). Your last option is a ride in a police vehicle, thanks to the commitment of our law enforcement agencies in keeping Maryland roadways safe, said Neil J. Pedersen, Maryland State Highway Administrator and Governors Highway Safety Representative. Plan ahead to avoid dangerous situations and life-altering consequences, and please wear your seatbelt its your best defense against a drunk driver.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the July 4th holiday is one of the deadliest for alcohol-related car crashes. Statistics show that on average almost 51 percent of all fatal crashes on the Fourth of July are caused by impaired driving.
Source: Maryland State Highway Administration