Don’t let luck dictate life

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, Maryland State Police troopers suggest those whose celebrations will include alcohol take time to make the right decision and designate a sober driver.

Based on past experience, Maryland state troopers are anticipating an increase in impaired driving as celebrants will be traveling on St. Patrick’s Day to and from different locations to enjoy festivities throughout the state. With this in mind, Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel William M. Pallozzi, has directed each of the 23 barracks to conduct saturation patrols focusing on impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers. Additional troopers will be assigned.

“Luck should have no part in determining your St. Patrick’s Day travel plans,” Colonel Pallozzi said. “If alcohol is part of your celebration, then driving should not be. We will accept no excuses.” There will be zero tolerance for anyone who elects to jeopardize the safety of others by choosing to drive while impaired.

During March 14-18, 2015, troopers arrested 158 drunk drivers. Driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 is evidence of intoxication and is against the law. A driver under the age of 21, with any measurable alcohol in their system is in violation of alcohol laws in Maryland.

Troopers at each of the 23 State Police barracks in Maryland will be involved in multiple initiatives from today through March 18th. Initiatives include saturation patrols in areas known to have a higher number of DUI crashes or arrests, and sobriety checkpoints, which are also conducted in locations where experience indicates they are most appropriate. Dozens of additional troopers will be supplementing the regular patrol duties. Some of the troopers will be working overtime, funded by DUI enforcement grants through the Maryland Highway Safety Office. The State Police Impaired Driving Effort, or SPIDRE Team, a full-time DUI enforcement squad, will be busy throughout the period.

If  you are attending a St. Patrick’s Day gathering:

  • Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast by pacing yourself – eat enough food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you; or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
  • Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while impaired.
  • Always buckle up – it’s still your best protection against other impaired drivers.

If you are hosting a St. Patrick’s Day gathering:

  • Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in an impaired-driving crash.
  • Be sure all of your guests designate their drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
  • Serve lots of food and be sure to include plenty of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.
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