PRINCESS ANNE, MD – The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), law enforcement and transportation officials from Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia kicked off a joint effort today to save lives on their roadways during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Law enforcement from 21 agencies across the three states will team up for a Border-to-Border High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) effort on Route 13 and Route 113 throughout the Delmarva Peninsula.
“This Border-to-Border effort is an outstanding example of our local communities and neighboring states joining forces to save lives on our roadways,” said MDOT Deputy Secretary Jim Ports. “We want everyone to make a plan for a safe and sober ride before celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day.”
In 2016, 522 people were killed on Maryland’s roads. Approximately one-third of Maryland’s roadway deaths involve impaired driving. There will be two DUI checkpoints in Maryland, two DUI checkpoints in Delaware, and one checkpoint in Virginia along the Route 13 corridor on Saturday night. Saturation patrols also will run throughout the Route 13 and Route 113 corridors with law enforcement on the lookout for impaired drivers.
A major North-South corridor cutting across the Delmarva Peninsula, Route 13 is comprised of 289 total miles – 137 in Virginia; 103 in Delaware; and 49 in Maryland. It houses approximately 150 establishments with liquor licenses along its length in Maryland alone. From 2013 to 2016, there were 138 DUI-involved crashes on Route 13 in Maryland – 93 of them in Wicomico County, the location of a DUI checkpoint on Saturday night.
“Don’t let alcohol cause you to be a risk to yourself and others on the road,” said Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis. “Remember: if you’re going out, so are we. And if you drive impaired, you will be arrested.”
The Pocomoke Police Department is conducting Maryland’s second Route 13 DUI checkpoint. The Maryland State Police, Wicomico County Sheriff, Worcester County Sheriff, Salisbury Police Department, Salisbury University Police Department, Princess Anne Police Department, Fruitland Police Department, and Delmar Police Department will participate in this weekend’s high visibility enforcement effort.
In 2016, there were 54 DUI-related fatal crashes in Delaware and 3,369 DUI-related arrests.
“The Delaware Office of Highway Safety urges motorists to plan ahead. If you plan to drink, don’t drive. Find a designated driver, call for a taxi, or use Lyft or Uber,” said Mitch Topal, Public Information Officer for the Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “Remember, in Delaware you can text saferide to 99000 for a link to download Lyft and Uber and for a list of local taxi companies.”
In Delaware, the Delaware State Police and the Delmar, Seaford, Laurel, Bridgeville, and Greenwood police departments will participate in the HVE throughout the weekend.
In Virginia, there were 248 alcohol-related fatalities in 2017, which is almost 30 percent of overall traffic deaths. The chance of being in an alcohol-related crash in Virginia is one-in-six over the course of a lifetime.
“A core goal of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle’s Highway Safety Office is to continue to reduce impaired driving crashes and fatalities,” said Virginia DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Border-to-border efforts such as these are vital to reducing the unacceptable and preventable tragedies caused by drunk driving.”
In Virginia, the Virginia State Police, Accomack County Sheriff’s Office, Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, and the Exmore, Onancock, and Chincoteague police departments will be participating in this weekend’s border-to-border effort.
To learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Maryland Highway Safety Office’s Toward Zero Deaths campaign, visit: towardzerodeathsmd.com, like us on Facebook @towardzerodeathsmd, follow us on Twitter @tzd_maryland, and on Instagram @twdzerodeaths_md.
Mitch Topal, Delaware Office of Highway Safety
Brandy Brubaker, Virginia DMV