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State Police Warning Marylanders: Don’t Drink & Drive

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Don’t drink and drive. That’s the message from Maryland State Police this holiday weekend, as millions hit the road for Fourth of July celebrations.

Christie Ileto rode alongside officers.

The message was clear in College Park–drive sober, or get pulled over.

Fourth of July means celebrations, as long as you don’t take the party behind the wheel.

“I smelled the odor of alcohol coming off of his breath,” said Tfc. Marvin Harrison, Maryland State Police.

Friday night, Trooper Harrison pulled over a driver for speeding, all to discover he’d been drinking and driving.

The state police SPIDRE unit is out this weekend, cracking down on distracted and impaired driving.

“We’re looking for the signs of impairment: slurred speech, strong odor of alcohol, eyes bloodshot red and glassy, people who can’t even stand up when you ask them to get out the car,” Harrison said.

New numbers show from 2009 to 2013, more than 850 people in Maryland lost their lives and about 20,000 were injured in crashes involving a drunk driver.

Just this week, police say a drunk driver slammed into Todd Green and his girlfriend in Anne Arundel County.

And days later when police tended to a bad accident on the Capital Beltway, they say a drunk driver barreled into the path of a Montgomery County officer.

Still, the Fourth of July is considered one of the most deadliest days on the road.

“The message is–be safe. It’s OK to go out and enjoy yourself, but we want you to be safe on the roadways,” Harrison said.

Since the SPIDRE program started, state police say there’s been a 13 percent decrease in alcohol-related crashes.

Last year, impairment was a factor in 33 percent of all fatal crashes.

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