As mentioned prior to Thanksgiving, the end-of-year holiday season appears to be a good excuse for some Maryland motorists to drink and drive, making the state’s highways and secondary roads more dangerous for the rest of us. As Baltimore auto accident lawyers and personal injury lawyers, we know how a simple ride to school, work or the store can turn into a life or death struggle to survive a horrendous traffic accident.
Sadly, the message that drunken driving is a danger to everyone — perpetrator included — has not made it to the ears of those most responsible for these kinds of accidents. As a result, drivers in Gaithersburg, Annapolis, Rockville and the District can expect to face continued threat of roadways collisions caused by drunk drivers.
This is not just a theory of ours, but a fact that recent news articles already have confirmed. According to reports, Drunk driving arrests are already up this season based on the opening weeks of a statewide law enforcement safety initiative. Injuries from auto, truck and motorcycle accidents are just as painful and debilitating whether they are caused by distraction, aggression or impairment from alcohol or other substances.
According to news reports, the interval between Thanksgiving and New Year’s has come to be regarded by traffic safety experts as one of the most dangerous times to be driving on Maryland roads. These experts point to a new crop of young adults who don’t remember Maryland’s targeted anti-drunk driving enforcement efforts begun in the late 1980s and carried on into the early ‘90s. Nearly 20 years ago, as news articles remind us, police agencies first began to notice a disturbing trend in drinking and driving. Now, with a new generation coming of age, those older initiatives are apparently not in the current consciousness, hence the renewed enforcement efforts of late.
Police departments across the state arrested nearly 20 drivers for driving under the influence on Thanksgiving eve, a figure that is practically two times that of last year. (The night before Thanksgiving has over the past several years become known as the most dangerous time due to the large number of motorists who likely drink and drive.)
Based on information provided by the Montgomery County Police in conjunction with Gaithersburg city patrolmen, use of enhanced traffic safety patrols and two individual checkpoints on November 23 yielded 265 traffic stops, of which officers issued a total of 157 warnings, almost 140 citations for traffic violations and 16 criminal charges. Named “Operation Turkey Chase,” this year’s initiative resulted in nearly 25 percent more traffic stops than the previous year.
According to police records, since mid-November police in Montgomery County have tallied 75 separate drunk driving arrests. As police and safety experts are quick to remind the driving public, taking 75 drunken drivers off the roads may have helped to avoid numerous accidents and potential injuries and deaths.
While Thanksgiving eve is now widely recognized as a popular night for underage drinking, as well as drinking and driving, police are getting ready for a seasonal spike in similar activities all the way toward New Year’s.
Drunken driving arrests, citations up this year in opening weeks of holiday safety initiative; Gazette.net, November 29, 2011