By Kimberly Eiten

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — While Marylanders celebrate New Year’s Eve, state troopers will be on high alert with increased enforcement, cracking down on drunk drivers.

Authorities are trying to make sure New Year’s Eve fun doesn’t turn deadly on the way home.

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“It’s sometimes like, ‘Man, this could have all been avoided.’ Or this person could have still had their life if they could have only had a plan or paid attention, or not involved drinking in part of their festivities and getting behind that wheel,” Maryland State Police Spokesperson Sgt. Davaughn Parker says.

Alcohol-related crashes have already claimed 97 lives in Maryland this year.

“We don’t want to raise these numbers. We want to ensure the safety of Marylanders and those who come or pass through, or just join us from us from other states to enjoy these festivities within Maryland to be safe. Not just think about yourself, but others,” Parker says.

For those set on breaking the law, when those blue and red lights flash, there’s a good chance Maryland State Trooper First Class Anthony Wallace is behind the wheel.

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“In the four years that I have been on the road, I have made over 450 DUI arrests,” Wallace says.

Wallace made state police history by breaking the record for the number of DUI arrests made in a year. He is the first in his department to take at least 100 drunk drivers off the road four years in a row.

“There are those individuals who go out there and they intend that they’re going to drink and just think that they can get home safely,” Wallace says.

This New Year’s Eve he’ll be watching for just that. But he’s not the only one. Wallace is part of a special team of seven specially trained to search for drunk drivers across the state. The State Police Impaired Driving Reduction Effort (SPIDRE) team was the first of its kind on the East Coast.

State police say they will also be looking for distracted drivers, as well as people texting and speeding.

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