The holidays are supposed to be a time to get together with friends and family, relax and have fun, but Montgomery County and Maryland State police are cracking down on impaired drivers, raising concerns among Maryland motorists. Drunk driving is a serious offense and can result in severe penalties. If you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol you could face up to three years in jail and the suspension or revocation of your driver's license. While driving while impaired is a lesser offense, a conviction could still lead to jail time, a fine, probation and driver's license restrictions. Drunk driving charges are, at best, severely disruptive and, at worst, can destroy your career and reputation.
As residents of Silver Spring attempted to enjoy their Thanksgiving, Maryland police executed 265 traffic stops and arrested 19 people for drunk driving on the night before Thanksgiving. The police officers used two sobriety checkpoints to stop every one of the 2,500 drivers that had the misfortune of traveling in the area in order to determine if the drivers had been drinking. The Montgomery County officers also used saturation patrols to increase the number of traffic stops in Maryland neighborhoods.
With the amount of effort and money the police spent on what some consider to be the worst night for drunk driving, it would be reasonable to assume that there would be more than 19 people arrested on drunk driving charges. Since sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols can be extremely invasive and slow down holiday travelers, there should be a larger threat than 19 drunk drivers to warrant such tactics.
Unfortunately for the people of Montgomery County, these types of drunk driving enforcement patrols will continue throughout the holiday season. The police will be using state grants and the money collected from seatbelt tickets to fund these saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints.
Source: Gazette.net, "Drunken driving arrests, citations up this year in opening weeks of holiday safety initiative," Jeremy Arias, Nov. 29, 2011