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State Police To Attack Impaired Driving With SPIDRE Senses

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JESSUP, Md. (WJZ)—The Fourth of July holiday is just 48 hours away and a new method of catching impaired drivers will be in full force. It’s called SPIDRE, and was implemented a year ago by Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Rochelle Ritchie explains why the program has been such a success and how it’s saving lives.

This isn’t just an effort with Maryland State Police, but Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County and Prince George’s County are all working together to keep drunk drivers off the road.

Mangled vehicles, traffic backed up for miles, and most of all fatalities are what police across Maryland hope to avoid as the clock ticks down to the Fourth of July weekend.

“If you decided to drink, don’t drive. Call a cab,” said Chief Jim Johnson, Baltimore County Police.

Using the year-old program called SPIDRE, Maryland State Police are teaming up with other police departments to get drunk drivers off the road.

“They’re dangerous and need to be removed,” said Lt. Col. Jerry Jones, Maryland State Police.

Across Maryland, impaired driving has been the cause of 856 deaths between 2009 and 2013 and 20,000 injuries. Impaired drivers caused 33 percent of those fatal crashes.

Those numbers are more than just data. The police actually use that information to find those who are more likely to drink and drive.

“Our officers and troopers are strategically placed where we believe you will be,” said Dep. Chief Hank Stawinski, Prince George’s County Police.

While the effort is set up to catch and prosecute those who are impaired behind the wheel, the number one focus is avoiding stories like that of Donna Beck, who was nearly killed by a drunk driver.

“The impact of that crash pushed my trunk into a tree and impaled my mouth on the steering wheel of the truck,” Beck said.

Police say if you pour it up this weekend, be sure to hand over the keys so others don’t become a victim.

“It’s a personal choice not to drink and drive,” said Chief Kevin Davis, Anne Arundel County Police.

Officials with Maryland State Police say SPIDRE not only contributes to getting impaired drivers off the road but also contributed to the arrest of more than 200 criminals for other offenses.

Since the SPIDRE program started in 2012, there has been a 13 percent decrease in alcohol-related crashes.

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