It is the time of the year during which people traditionally attend gatherings where alcohol is present. It is also the time when law enforcement, other governmental entities, interest groups and businesses coalesce to help prevent the incidence of fatal motor vehicle accidents, notably those that involve drunk driving.
Efforts to Stop Drunk Driving
The Governors Highway Safety Association on Dec. 10 announced its support for the annual national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which through New Year’s Day features a heightened presence of law enforcement on the state’s and nation’s roads.
“Unfortunately, far too many people still make the dangerous decision to get behind the wheel after too many drinks, especially during the holidays,” GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins said. “Impaired driving contributes to one-third of all highway fatalities, and GHSA and its members remain committed to reducing these preventable deaths … “We need to make drug-impaired driving as socially unacceptable as drunk driving and remind all motorists that when you are feeling impaired – whether it’s from alcohol, another drug, or a combination – you are in no condition to drive.”
Deployment of the Checkpoint Strikeforce is one thing Maryland law enforcement agencies do together for Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. In this regard, motorists can expect “sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols,” particularly in areas that the agencies have already identified as “high-crash corridors.” Officers actually have mapped out areas where they expect a bumper crop, so to speak, of impaired drivers.
Remembering Those Lost to Drunk Driving
If the death toll does not convince anyone not to drive while impaired, nothing will. Maryland Deputy Transportation Secretary Wilson H. Parran explained the situation Oct. 28 at the state’s annual “Maryland Remembers” memorial service in Annapolis. Led by state officials and Mothers Against Drunk Driving representatives, the community gathers at the memorial service to remember those who were killed in Maryland as a result of an impaired driver.
“Last year in Maryland, 152 people were tragically killed in impaired driving-related crashes, accounting for about a third of all traffic fatalities in 2013,” Parran said. “Sadly, every single one of these deaths was preventable. That is why it is important that we gather each year at this event to remember lives lost and urge others never to drink and drive.”
The most recent memorial service saw the introduction of a new app intended to save lives. It is called the ENDUI App. It is pronounced “End DUI.” The app, which the Maryland Highway Safety Office developed, is available at Google Play for Android phones or at the iTunes Store for iPhones. The app allows its user to:
- Create a “designated driver list” of family members and friends who can be contacted quickly in the event that someone has had too much to drink
- Instantly locate the nearest taxi service or public transportation options
- Use a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) estimator, where the number and type of drinks a person has consumed is entered into the app and an estimate BAC level is provided
- Use two skills tests designed to measure a person’s reaction time and response functions, characteristics that diminish with impairment
- Have the ability to report an impaired driver by contacting 911 with the push of a button
- View DUI facts and educational videos
Are the holiday-season public awareness efforts and full-force patrolling through New Year’s Day worth it?
“More than 23,000 people were arrested last year in Maryland for drunk or drugged driving,” Mothers Against Drunk Driving National President Jan Withers said at the memorial service. “My daughter, Alisa, was killed by a drunk driver and, as someone who has had their life forever altered, I can tell you that a little time spent planning before you go out can go a long way toward saving a life at the end of the night. Always have a safe ride with someone who has not been drinking.”
Despite the seasonal safety push, people are injured in motor vehicle crashes, including those that involve motorists who drove while they were impaired. Sometimes people die, too.
If your life is “forever altered” – to use Withers’ term – by a death in the family caused by a drunk driver, then let a skilled Maryland wrongful death attorney help you to pursue compensation for your tragic loss. Similarly, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident that was not your fault, including a crash caused by someone who was driving while impaired, then you should strongly consider contacting a Maryland auto accident attorney. Whether the accident involves a car, truck or motorcycle, when you need an experienced attorney, give us a call for a free consultation at 1-888-540-2599. Get in touch during any time of the year.
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