JESSUP, Md. (WJZ) -- Drive sober, or designate a driver who will be. That's the message from the Maryland Department of Transportation Administration and Maryland State Police, especially this weekend.
The agencies this week announced their plan to limit impaired driving.
"Hopefully, many of you have already made the commitment to avoid impaired driving. As law enforcement, we would like this practice to become as natural as securing your seatbelt before you pull away," said Lt. Col. Roland Butler Jr., the Chief of MSP Field Operations Bureau.
Officials said the State Police Impaired Driving Reduction Effort or "SPIDRE" team will be out in full force, ready to get impaired drivers off the road.
The SPIDRE team was formed in 2013 and is made up of 5 troopers who work in targeted areas in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas, where impaired driving is a leading cause of death or injury.
MSP's Mobile Breath Alcohol Testing truck or "MBAT" will also be deployed.
"It's a resource that we make available to all law enforcement agencies across the state and it's used to process impaired drivers at the scene of DUI checkpoints, special enforcement initiatives as well as traffic stops," said Lt. Col. Butler Jr.
Nearly 800 people have been killed and more than 15,000 have been hurt in crashes involving impaired drivers in Maryland, according to data from MDOT.
"Never let anybody drive impaired under drugs or alcohol. It's a personal responsibility each and every time you get behind the wheel to keep others safe by not driving impaired," said Chrissy Nizer, the MDOT MVA Administrator.
The two agencies shared a victim's story in hopes of reminding drivers to plan ahead and find a safe, sober ride home this holiday weekend.
"Bennett was hit head-on, changing our lives forever," said Kim Sizemore, the mother of a 27-year-old man who was the victim of a drunk driver.
Sizemore said on the afternoon of May 12, 2020, Bennett was driving in Curtis Bay when a driver veered into oncoming traffic and hit her son's car.
Bennett suffered life-altering injuries to the wrist and ankle, the mother said.
"The injuries Bennett suffered caused him to lose his job and his career due to the inabilities to climb a ladder, fully bend his hand and difficulty walking," Sizemore said.
The convicted drunk driver is serving two consecutive 10-year sentences, and he had 8 previous DUI arrests from multiple states.
MDOT MVA reminds drivers to be patient, leave extra time and expect high traffic over the Fourth of July weekend.
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