Accidents Still Happen
State and local law enforcement agencies have launched initiatives aimed at deterring traffic accidents through strict enforcement of the Maryland Transportation Code. By salient indications, these tactics yield results.
For instance, Maryland State Police, working alongside the Prince George’s County Police Department and the Montgomery County Police Department, will carry out the Operation Stay Alive, Think and Drive program through Jan. 3, 2015. This targeted enforcement on and around Interstate 495, which is also known as the Capital Beltway, began Halloween night.
The troopers and officers’ foci are aggressive drivers, distracted drivers, impaired drivers and those who fail to obey the state’s Move Over law. Law enforcement officers are patrolling in marked and unmarked vehicles in an attempt to nab violators.
In the inaugural weekend of Operation Stay Alive, Think and Drive, 18 troopers and six of their county-based counterparts worked 150 hours and made 10 arrests for driving under the influence and issued 60 citations for Move Over law violations.
“Out of 204 traffic stops, police made six criminal arrests, recovered a stolen vehicle, issued 20 speed citations, 88 warnings, 27 repair orders and 172 citations for other violations,” according to a Maryland State Police summary of the weekend’s results.
Local Law Enforcement Steps Up
Local law enforcement agencies across the state have stepped up on their own to keep Maryland roadways safe. One example, which has achieved statewide and nationwide praise, is the work of the Princess Anne Police Department.
After finishing first in the state competition, the Princess Anne Police Department on Oct. 28 placed second among police forces of its size in the National Law Enforcement Challenge. The department’s enforcement of impaired driving, aggressive driving, and occupant protection laws was among the award criteria.
It’s the Law
Under the Maryland Transportation Code, aggressive driving includes the commission of three or more offenses either at the same time or during a single and continuous period. These offenses include passing on the right, following too closely, driving on laned roadways, failing to yield the right-of-way, speeding, running a red light, and violating the “overtaking and passing” rules, such as driving directly in the path of an overtaken vehicle before becoming free and clear of the passed vehicle.
Under the code, it is illegal for a person to “drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol” or “while impaired by alcohol” or while impaired by “any controlled dangerous substance,” as that term is defined under criminal law.
Since Oct. 1, Maryland law has imposed stiffer penalties for those who cause injury while texting, talking on a hand-held cell phone or engaging in any other form of distracted driving.
The Move Over law, according to Maryland State Police, requires motorists to slow down or move over safely to an available lane when approaching an emergency vehicle or a tow truck from the rear with its lights activated.
Despite the laudable efforts of law enforcement, accidents happen. More than 44,000 people are injured and more than 450 are killed each year in motor vehicle crashes in Maryland, according to the Maryland Highway Safety Office.
A skilled motor vehicle accident attorney protects the interests of those who by no fault of their own are victims of motor vehicle accidents. Victims and the loved ones of decedents in motor vehicle crashes deserve a motor vehicle accident attorney whose expertise they can trust, particularly in dealing with an insurance company.