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.