Although July fourth is not until next Wednesday, Maryland state troopers will begin a statewide increased traffic enforcement initiative this weekend in an effort to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries during the upcoming holiday period.
Beginning this weekend, each of the 22 Maryland State Police barrack commanders will be deploying drunk driving patrols that will continue throughout the July fourth holiday. A news release said the additional troopers will specifically work to get drunk drivers off the road before they injure or kill other people.
Special patrols will also be targeting speeding and aggressive drivers. State Police commanders have reviewed crash data for their area and are deploying these additional patrols in the locations where the most crashes have occurred.
“Maryland is a great place to live, visit, and have fun during the summer, but unfortunately, there are those who use holiday events as opportunities to overindulge and ultimately threaten the safety of others on our roads and highways,” Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus L. Brown said in a release. “We are prepared to meet the demands of increased traffic and increased highway hazards with extra troopers and focused patrols aimed at keeping motorists on our highways safe. I urge everyone traveling this holiday not to drink and drive, to obey the speed limits, and always buckle up.”
Motorists can expect to see State Police enforcement not just in daylight hours, but around-the-clock. A study by the Maryland Highway Safety Office shows that slightly more than half of all fatal crashes occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., when only 20 percent of all vehicle travel occurs. Of those fatal crashes occurring between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., almost half of those who died (48 percent) were drivers or passengers who were not wearing seatbelts. State troopers are joining their allied law enforcement partners in nighttime seat belt enforcement efforts and are reminding motorists that seat belts save lives at all times, not just during the day.
Since summer also means an increase in pedestrians, State Police are also reminding citizens from Coastal Highway to the shores of Deep Creek Lake to use caution whenever walking along a roadway. Cross only at intersections or designated crosswalks and always be on alert for traffic. Drivers are also urged to be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially those who may not be using their best judgment in resort areas.
Police say motorists can assist them by reporting dangerous drivers. Using a hands-free phone when safe to do so, motorists can report unsafe highway drivers to State Police by dialing #77.
Most of the additional troopers working focused patrols during the holiday period will be on overtime funded by state and federal grants. Those grants are coordinated through the Maryland Highway Safety Office.
Information in this article taken from a Maryland State Police news release.