Labor Day weekend is nearly upon us. Here in Baltimore County, Md. and around the country, the long holiday weekend gives people one last chance to enjoy some R&R with family and friends before the fall school schedule swings into gear. Like all other holiday weekends, Labor Day is also a time of heavier traffic … and alcohol consumption.
More alcohol + more traffic on Maryland roads and highways is a bad combination that leads to serious and deadly Baltimore County auto accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced its annual public awareness campaign to curb alcohol and drug impaired driving now through Labor Day Weekend. NHTSA’s Impaired Driving Division works cooperatively with law enforcement partners to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce traffic-related healthcare and economic costs resulting from impaired driving (that is, driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs).
Maryland Drunk Driving Fatality Statistics
Baltimore County, Md. accident injury attorneys work with families where a loved one has been injured or killed in a Maryland car crash.
Sadly, a contributing factor in nearly one-third of these serious and fatal Maryland traffic accidents is drinking and driving. NHTSA reports that of the 547 traffic accident deaths in Md. in 2009 — 30% involved alcohol impaired driving above the legal limit of .08 BAC. While overall car crash fatalities in Maryland have trended downwards — 547 deaths in 2009 compared to 591 deaths in 2008 — the percentage of deadly crashes involving drunk driving has actually risen, from 25% in 2008 to 30% in 2009.
An experienced Baltimore car accident lawyer will tell you — even one auto accident death is one too many. The statistics show we still have a ways to go to reduce drunk driving in Maryland. The National Strategy to Stop Impaired Driving includes advocating for…
> Highly visible law enforcement
> Increased drunk driver apprehension and adjudication
> Ignition interlock systems on automobiles for drivers with a history of drunk driving (to avoid recidivism and repeat drunken driving accidents)
> Programs that aid motorists in reporting drunk drivers to law enforcement, e.g., when they observe erratic drivers on the road. In Maryland, this is typically handled via a 911 general emergency called in via the #77 program, which routes the call to the Maryland State Police Barracks. The Maryland program is in place for motorists to report drunk or aggressive drivers. This program’s limitations, reports NHTSA, include incomplete information from callers, not enough police on duty to respond to calls reporting drunk drivers, and/or insufficient cause for police to stop the suspected drunk drivers.
Please be safe this Labor Day weekend in Maryland. Don’t drink and drive. If a friend or family member has had too much holiday cheer, take the keys and give them a ride. If you observe someone driving erratically on Md. roads or highways, use the #77 system in Maryland to drop a dime and alert law enforcement. We all have a part to play in making Maryland roads and highways safer — over the long Labor Day holiday weekend and all year ’round.
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