|Glen Burnie, Md. (October 28, 2019) – The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) this week recognized 131 law enforcement officers from 30 state, county and local police agencies for their commitment to enforcing the state’s impaired driving laws. The annual Impaired Driving Law Enforcement Awards, a joint effort of the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MDOT MVA) Highway Safety Office (MHSO) and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, honor officers dedicated to eliminating impaired driving crashes, injuries and deaths. The awards ceremony, held Sunday in Ocean City, recognized officers for DUI enforcement – including seven who made more than 100 arrests last year – and also thanked those who serve as a Drug Recognition Expert.
“Too many Maryland families have been shattered and too many lives have been cut short because of the reckless actions of an impaired driver,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “We are grateful to our law enforcement officers who are dedicated to protecting the lives of citizens and are working every day to prevent more needless deaths from drunk or drugged driving.”
The combined efforts of law enforcement officers statewide resulted in more than 19,000 DUI arrests in 2018. The event program, with a full list of honorees, is available at https://bit.ly/2Wr17LZ
The Noah Leotta Memorial Award, named for a Montgomery County Police Officer killed by an impaired driver in December 2015 while working a holiday DUI patrol, was presented to Trooper First Class Daniel J. Townsend of the Maryland State Police, for his dedication and passion for safety enforcement.
“The death of Officer Leotta and every victim reminds us of the devastation caused by the irresponsible choice to drive impaired,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “Deaths and injuries from impaired driving crashes are preventable. We are grateful to our law enforcement who protect us day and night by getting dangerous drivers off the road.”
Officer Jayme Derbyshire of the Montgomery County Police Department was this year’s Outstanding Innovative Program awardee for her work to develop a Cannabis Intoxication Impaired Driving Lab. The first-of-its-kind lab brings together law enforcement with medical marijuana dispensaries in the county to train officers to recognize and test for impairment in a controlled environment.
Over the past five years in Maryland, there have been more than 34,600 crashes involving drivers impaired by drugs and/or alcohol. Those crashes resulted in more than 800 deaths and 16,300 injuries. In addition to high visibility impaired driving enforcement waves throughout the year, the MHSO runs an educational campaign called Be Legendary to encourage everyone to make a plan for a sober ride home. For more information on MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office’s Zero Deaths Maryland campaign, visit zerodeathsmd.com
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