By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The last days of summer bring a crackdown on drunk driving, and officials have a zero-death campaign targeting impaired drivers.

Bay to beach enforcement along Route 50 begins this weekend and runs through Labor Day.

Col. Jerry Jones of Maryland Transportation Authority Police said in a news conference in Stevensville Wednesday that drivers who get behind the wheel drunk or drugged make a choice.

“A choice that can injure or kill anyone on our roadways including themselves,” he said.

That’s what happened to Jason Shand’s brother, who was killed driving drunk after a party in his hometown in Texas.

“It was one of those country roads,” Shand said. “There are no cops, you don’t have to worry about police officer presence. But maybe if he knew there was an officer there, a checkpoint there, he would have thought twice about getting behind the wheel of a car.”

The transportation authority and state police working with sheriff departments and police patrols around the state will be on patrol and operating checkpoints.

There were 557 traffic-related deaths in Maryland last year, 188 related to drunk or drugged driving.

“We’re here today for one reason,” said Jones. “To save lives by preventing senseless deaths on Maryland roadways and as the summer season ends, I have one message for everyone traveling: if you drink and drive you will be arrested.”

Maryland is among the 10 states with the fewest drunk driving deaths in the country. Safewise used 2016 data to rank Maryland 43rd with 2.59 deaths per 100,000.

The bay to beach enforcement begins Aug. 17.

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