FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young||MVA Media Relations|
MARYLAND LAUNCHES WAVE OF MASSIVE ENFORCEMENT TO RID THE ROADS OF DRUNK DRIVERS
Project Saving Our Loved Ones (SOLO) Intensifies Patrols to Catch Impaired Drivers Over St. Patrick’s Day Weekend
BALTIMORE, MD (March 15, 2013) – On March 16th, the focus of many of the state’s roughly 200 law enforcement agencies will shift to identification and apprehension of impaired drivers. For many Americans, St. Patrick’s Day has become a popular night out to celebrate with friends and family. Unfortunately, due to the large volume of impaired drivers, the night out has also become very dangerous. In response, Maryland’s law enforcement community is significantly expanding standard enforcement efforts over this holiday weekend.
Also known as Project Saving Our Loved Ones (SOLO), a statewide initiative to combat impaired driving and underage drinking, this effort will deploy mass patrols on area roads that are known to have higher instances of impaired driving arrests and alcohol related crashes. These high risk zones, which are identified through impaired driving crash and arrest data collection, will be targeted by law enforcement between now and the end of the year.
“Impaired driving is a grave issue that results in the death of someone in Maryland every 57 hours,” said John Kuo, Administrator, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.
Last year during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, there were 68 alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, resulting in two fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports over 700 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving a drunk driver during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday from 2006 to 2010. Last year, to help combat this problem, Maryland law enforcement stopped over 3,500 vehicles and arrested 176 people for DUI during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
A unique enforcement project will make driving drunk a near impossibility in Southern Maryland this weekend. An initiative spearheaded by the Calvert County Sheriffs Office will be placing over fifty patrol units from eight law enforcement agencies on the roads with the specific mission of apprehending impaired drivers.
“Luck will be a scarce commodity in Maryland when it comes to deciding to drive drunk this weekend,” said Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans.
The intense enforcement effort begins March 16th at 9:00 p.m. when these patrol units and dozens of Maryland County and State law enforcement and highway safety officials throughout Maryland will saturate specific stretches of roadway until early Sunday morning to identify and arrest drunk drivers. Participating agencies include:
- Calvert County Sheriffs Office
- St. Mary’s County Sheriffs Office
- Charles County Sheriffs Office
- Annapolis Police Department
- Anne Arundel County Police Department
- Town of LaPlata Police Department
- Baltimore City Police Department
- Baltimore County Police Department
- Howard County Police Department
- Frederick County Police Department
- Prince George’s Police Department
- Montgomery County Police Department
- Ocean City Police Department
- Maryland State Police
“This enforcement effort is not about writing tickets. Project SOLO is about taking impaired drivers off the road, saving lives and raising awareness of the importance of safe driving,” said Ofc. Frank Enko, Drug Recognition Expert Agency Coordinator, Baltimore County Police Department. “Every law enforcement and highway safety official involved in this initiative has been thoroughly trained and briefed to effectively target all signals of impaired driving. Drunk drivers will be caught.”
Project SOLO will emphasize enforcement of Maryland’s impaired driving laws most prominently at night. In 2010, alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes nationwide was four times higher at night than during the day. Fifty five percent of alcohol-impaired drivers were involved in fatal crashes between midnight and 3:00 a.m., and 42 percent between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
To prevent these tragedies from occurring, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration recommends the following steps to have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day:
- Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
- Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
- If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation to get home safely.
- If you are celebrating in or around the Washington DC area, please use SoberRide to get home safely
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local police.
- And remember, if you know people who are about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
For more information, visit www.mva.maryland.gov.