The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the number of fatal crashes rises 10-fold over Christmas and almost 20-fold over the New Year’s holiday. Therefore, Maryland State Police (MSP) are taking steps to keep drunk drivers off the roads this season.
Troopers from all 23 MSP barracks are “using a variety of patrol initiatives to keep traffic moving, respond quickly to highway incidents and take appropriate enforcement action when violations are observed that threaten the safety of travelers,” according to a press release. They’re on the lookout not just for drunk drivers, but for people who are speeding, driving aggressively and guilty of distracted driving.
Thanks to a grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation, there will be additional patrols and officers working overtime. Even with these stepped-up efforts, the number of crashes during the weekend prior to Christmas (Dec. 15 through Dec. 17) exceeded the number reported a year ago.
Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives to getting behind the wheel after drinking at a party, family gathering or a night out with friends. Ride share services like Uber and Lyft are easy to use. Taxis are still available, of course. If you’re out with a friend who can be counted on to be a sober designated driver who will get you home, that’s a good option as well.
Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid getting into a crash while driving under the influence, your chances of getting pulled over and arrested are higher than ever at this time of year, when Maryland law enforcement officers are out in force looking for unsafe drivers. A DUI arrest can ruin the holidays, and the consequences can follow you long into the new year.
Source: Carroll County Times, “Editorial: Find a safe way home if drinking around holidays,” Dec. 18, 2017