News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
7/2/2020
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Whitney Nichels,

Plan a Safe and Sober Ride This Fourth of July

MDOT MVA, State Troopers and Local Officers Step Up Enforcement, Warn Motorists of Impaired Driving Risk During Fourth of July Weekend

GLEN BURNIE, MD (July 2, 2020) – As the Fourth of July holiday weekend approaches and many motorists return to the roads during Maryland’s COVID-19 recovery, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA), Maryland State Police (MSP) and local law enforcement agencies are reminding travelers to buckle up, slow down and drive sober.  

The State Police Impaired DRiving Effort – or SPIDRE – team will be out this Fourth of July weekend stopping suspected impaired drivers. All highway safety partners are encouraging motorists to make a plan for a safe and sober ride home before heading out. Motorists driving under the influence risk being caught in SPIDRE’s web and facing the legal consequences that come with a DUI or DWI arrest. 

“Each and every one of us has the responsibility to drive safely, not just this holiday weekend but every day,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “In order to arrive alive, we remind motorists to buckle up, slow down and drive sober. And remember safety doesn’t stop at your destination. Wear a face covering and practice social distancing.”

In 2019, motor vehicle crashes claimed 530 lives on Maryland roadways, an increase of 3.7% compared to 512 deaths the previous year. 

Formed in 2013, SPIDRE is a specially trained team of seven state police troopers who work in targeted areas where impaired driving is a leading cause of death and injury. Since its inception SPIDRE has recorded more than 3,250 arrests for suspected driving under the influence. Team members also train other state troopers and local law enforcement officers, and partner with local police departments and agencies to reduce alcohol-related crashes throughout Maryland. State police and MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office provide funding for this effort.

"Unfortunately, impaired drivers continue to haunt our highways and imperil the safety of others," said Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Woodrow Jones III. "Although every state trooper on patrol is on the alert for impaired drivers, the members of SPIDRE are able to focus solely on this deadly driving offense. Through their increased efficiency, expertise and mobility, they are able to specifically target areas where the need for DUI enforcement is the greatest, while significantly impacting our impaired driving reduction efforts."    

In addition to risking injury or death for themselves or others, those driving under the influence or while intoxicated may face arrest, jail time, extensive legal costs and fines. 

Under the 2016 implementation of Noah’s Law, drivers convicted of DUI in Maryland are required to participate in the state’s Ignition Interlock Program. In addition, guidelines that went into effect in October 2019 increase the consequences for first-time and repeat DUI/DWI offenders, including:

a maximum sentence of five years for third-time offenders, and 10 years for fourth-time offenders;

a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for a DUI/DWI offender with a prior conviction who causes death or life-threatening injury while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs;

jail time of five years for anyone convicted of vehicular homicide while impaired by drugs, and 10 years if the offender has a prior DUI/DWI; and

doubling of penalties for first-time and subsequent offenders if they transport a minor while impaired.

As motorists take to the road during the Fourth of July holiday, MDOT MVA reminds drivers to be patient, leave extra time and avoid aggressive driving. To plan ahead, visit www.md511.org for traffic information or connect to 511 from a hands-free mobile device.

The state is working to reduce crashes due to impaired driving and other causes through its Strategic Highway Safety Plan, and its success is due to the involvement of the law enforcement community. Learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.

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