Maryland State Police Preps For Driver Safety For Holiday Weekend

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A record number of drivers are expected to hit the road Independence Day weekend. Police statewide are keeping their eyes out for backups, accidents, and especially impaired drivers.

RELATED: AAA Predicts Record Travel For July 4th Holiday

Thousands of road trips are starting Thursday, many more Friday, and police all over Maryland are teaming up to make sure everyone’s ride is safe and sober.

Maryland State Police are keeping a watchful eye on drivers as they deploy the elite Spidre team to zero in on suspected drunk drivers.

“We’re gonna have saturation patrols, we’re gonna have checkpoints. We’re gonna be out there in full force. If you drink and drive, please plan on being stopped by one of us,” said Lt. Col. Frank Lioi of the Maryland State Police field operations.

Police also unveiled a new mobile breathalyzer lab.

“Once they’ve made their decision to take a breath test, we’ll take them back here,” said Sgt. Tim Aronhalt of the Maryland State Police.

The lab brings all the lab equipment out of the barracks to detect impaired drivers, like the 23,000 arrested for DUI in Maryland in 2015.

“New year’s eve, 4th of July, anything that’s got to do with celebrating, you’ve got to look out for the other guy,” one woman said.

Overall, about 940,000 Marylanders are expected to hit the road between Friday and Tuesday, 2.9 percent more travelers than last year.

And state officials say planning ahead is the key to keeping highway congestion out of your vacation.

“Be patient. Make a plan. Leave early, stay late. Go to 511.org, go to baybridge.com, look for the best places to travel,” said State Highway administrator Gregory Slater.

Patience is easier for some than others.

[Reporter: “How has traffic been for you?”]

“Not bad, not bad actually!” one family said.

“Everywhere, every road we was on, it was backed up!” a woman said.

Whether driving to or driving through Maryland, it’s a group effort law enforcement is prepped to lead.

Safety officials are reminding people to put down the phone and don’t forget to buckle up.

About one-third of last year’s fatal crashes were caused by impaired drivers.

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