PIKESVILLE – Thanksgiving can mean turkey and football, but it can also mean traffic nightmares, tough driving conditions, bad weather and — unfortunately — impaired drivers.
Maryland State Police announced earlier this week that, in an attempt to keep traffic flowing safely and decrease highway and other incidents, they will have an increased amount of troopers on patrol all across the state. Officials said that a “variety of initiatives” will be underway to ensure that the maximum amount of Marylanders have a safe and happy holiday, including a sobriety checkpoint in Harford County.
Staying safe on Maryland highways and roads is their paramount concern, and travelers should be aware that there will be an influx of traffic expected on highways.
Beginning today, troopers from all 23 MSP barracks will be focusing enforcement efforts on impaired driving, aggressive driving, speeding, distracted driving and other violations that contribute to highway tragedies.
“Several barracks will utilize impaired driving grants from the Maryland Highway Safety Office to put additional troopers on the roads,” said a statement from MSP. “These troopers will be saturating areas known to have a higher frequency of impaired driving arrests or crashes.”
Travelers headed toward Virginia or West Virginia can expect troopers in western Maryland to focus efforts on I-70 as well as I-68. They will be focused primarily on commercial vehicles and looking for impaired drivers.
Main highway arteries such as I-95, I-695, and I-495 will have increased trooper presence, and travelers should use caution and obey speed limits. “Traffic safety saturation patrols will be evident across Maryland,” MSP officials said.
The JFK Memorial Highway Barrack has already started Operation F.E.A.S.T. (Focused Enforcement Action by State Troopers), where efforts are centered on reducing crashes, and crime, along with stopping impaired drivers. The Bel Air Barrack will conduct a sobriety checkpoint today in Harford County.
Troopers are urging travelers not to drive distracted, impaired or, aggressively, and to make traffic safety their priority when they get behind the wheel.
During Thanksgiving weekend of 2018, troopers stopped 7,338 vehicles, issued 4,537 citations to drivers and arrested 130 people for driving under the influence.
MSP reminded drivers Wednesday that those who are arrested for impaired driving can expect to spend around $10,000 for legal fees, fines, lost wages and other costs. “If a crash is involved, the cost goes up exponentially, and you cannot place a price on a life lost in a DUI crash,” officials said in a statement.
Drivers can check travel conditions and delays before they travel, and MDOT State Highway Administration provides up-to-the-minute traffic and road conditions at md511.org.
Travel safely and soundly this Thanksgiving!