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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
6/17/2021
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Whitney Nichels,

Law Enforcement Partners Focus on Aggressive, Impaired Drivers Along I-495/Capital Beltway and I-270

Agencies in Maryland, Virginia Continue to Remind Drivers to Slow Down and Drive Sober


GLEN BURNIE, MD (June 17, 2021) –Maryland State Police (MSP), Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) and Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) joined forces with Virginia State Police (VSP) this week for the fourth of six planned traffic enforcement initiatives on I-495 (Capital Beltway) and I-270. The effort was aimed at reducing excessive speeding and aggressive and impaired driving – troubling trends seen in 2020 that have continued despite traffic volumes returning to near pre-pandemic levels.

The operation was conducted through grant funding from the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) Highway Safety Office. Enforcement initiatives such as this are data-driven and are focused in areas where crash data indicates they are most needed. Last year, 574 fatalities occurred on Maryland roadways, an increase of 6.4% compared to 2019 even though traffic volumes were down as much as 50% during portions of 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Volumes have largely returned; figures for May 2021 show traffic down between 8% and 11% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Of all highway fatalities in 2020, 27% occurred in Prince George’s or Montgomery counties. Additionally, according to Automated Crash Reporting System data, more than 17,100 crashes were reported in 2020 in Prince George’s County, while more than 9,700 crashes were reported in Montgomery County. With preliminary data showing those two counties continuing those trends this year, law enforcement partners are working to save lives by stopping dangerous driving behaviors before they cause another crash.

“The excessive speed, increase in impaired driving and overall unsafe driving behaviors we are continuing to see on our roadways is unacceptable,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who serves as Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “We are thankful for our law enforcement partners who are addressing these unsafe driving behaviors to help save lives.”

Enforcement initiatives have been conducted by local agencies in March, April, May and June, resulting in the following traffic stops, citations and warnings issued by MSP, PGPD and MCPD:

 

March 15

April 22

May 12

June 14

Traffic Stops

502

323

242

142

Citations Issued

435

277

216

163

Warnings Issued

246

151

112

84


“The evidence of unsafe drivers is clear and, unfortunately, that evidence involves the increase in crashes killing and injuring people on Maryland highways,” Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Woodrow W. Jones III said. “Working with the MDOT MVA Highway Safety Office and our law enforcement partners in the National Capital Region, we will continue initiatives to strictly enforce our traffic laws and change these dangerous driving behaviors while reducing crashes caused by those who disregard the safety of others.”

On the southern side of I-495, VSP officers also conducted patrols combatting the same behaviors.

“The importance and necessity of safe highways doesn’t stop at a city, county or state boundary,” said Capt. J.P. Koushel, Virginia State Police Fairfax Division Commander. “Virginia troopers are committed to supporting these continuing traffic safety operations with our Maryland partners, especially as we head into the busy summer travel months.”

Learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.

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