FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young|
MVA External Affairs
|Jared Smith, Lt. Governor’s Office|
LT. GOVERNOR BROWN HONORS VICTIMS OF IMPAIRED DRIVING
10th Annual Maryland Remembers Memorial Addresses Deadly Issue of Drunk / Drugged Driving
Lt. Governor Commits to Zero Deaths on Maryland Roadways
ANNAPOLIS, MD (DECEMBER 12, 2013) – Remembering lives lost and honoring the memories of those tragically killed in Maryland as the result of an impaired driver, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown today joined Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administrator and Governor O’Malley’s Highway Safety Representative John T. Kuo and the families and friends of drunk / drugged driving crash victims at the 10th Annual Maryland Remembers memorial service. The ceremony, held in the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis, serves to raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving that increases during the holiday season.
“Today, as we remember the Marylanders who have tragically lost their lives due to an impaired driver, we must honor their memories by continuing our work together to end this senseless crime,” said Lt. Governor Brown. "Although we were pleased to see a seven percent reduction in these terrible tragedies last year, we know that our work is far from finished. Drunk and impaired driving continues to plague our roadways and even one life lost as a result of this preventable crime will be one too many”
Among the victims remembered at today’s ceremony was U.S. Park Police Officer Hakim Farthing, who was killed after being struck by an impaired driver while assisting at the scene of a separate vehicle crash. Eshe Farthing spoke of the August day when the life of her 28-year-old brother was cut short as he was helping others.
“This is a public safety concern that crosses jurisdictional boundaries and we believe coordinating our efforts will lead to a more successful enforcement initiative," said Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police. “Police in Maryland are committed to removing impaired drivers from our roads to meet the goal of zero deaths in Maryland."
Although the number of people killed in Maryland crashes involving a drunk / drugged driver decreased from 173 in 2011 to 161 in 2012, impaired driving remains one of the leading causes of death on Maryland roadways. Over the past five years (2008 to 2012), an average of 175 people died on Maryland roads in crashes involving a driver
impaired by either alcohol or drugs. The holiday season, from December through New Year’s Day, marks one of the most dangerous periods for impaired driving deaths. Maryland’s law enforcement community will be out in full force over the holidays to find and arrest impaired drivers.
“There is no excuse to get behind the wheel if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said MVA Administrator Kuo. “There are many options instead of drinking and driving… call a cab, designate a sober driver before going out or have a friend pick you up! Every life lost as a result of impaired driving is simply a needless tragedy.”
Maryland Remembers class="apple-converted-space" serves as the culmination of the state’s regular sobriety checkpoint campaign, class="apple-converted-space" Checkpoint Strikeforce. The Maryland State Police also will have an elite team of troopers, known as the State Police Impaired Driving Reduction Effort (SPIDRE), strategically targeting high-crash areas statewide. Last year, more than 22,000 arrests were made for Driving Under the Influence offenses throughout the state.
Throughout the holiday season, Marylanders can call 911 to report drunk drivers. More information on how to spot a drunk driver can be found at: www.reportadrunkdriver.com.
The ceremony concluded with the presentation of the Kevin Quinlan Award. The award recipient is selected for his or her dedication to highway safety. This year’s recipient was Jan Withers, a leader in Maryland’s effort to combat drunk and impaired driving. Ms. Withers, the 2011 president of the National Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), works tirelessly to save lives by: advocating for victims through MADD Maryland, facilitating a support group for victims, and serving on MADD Maryland’s Operations Council and on the MADD National Board of Directors.
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Note: Maryland Remembers is sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. For more information about this initiative, visit www.MarylandRemembers.com.
Maryland's Toward Zero Deaths campaign focuses on preventing impaired driving, aggressive driving, and distracted driving, while promoting seat belt use. For more information on the Toward Zero Deaths campaign, please visit www.towardzerodeathsmd.com