From Maryland State Police:
Bel Air Barrack troopers will remain vigilent and aggressive during the holiday season. So far this year the Bel Air Barrack has experienced a 40% (246/345) increase in DUI arrests when compared to the same time frame of 2009. Traffic citations issued by Bel Air Barrack troopers have increased by 71% (7,007/11,959) when compared to the same time frame of 2009. As demonstrated by the above statistics, Bel Air Barrack troopers will be doing their best to reduce accidents, prevent crime, and to save lives in our County and State!
In preparation for the increase in traffic and the potential for unsafe drivers, Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Terrence B. Sheridan has ordered additional troopers onto Maryland’s highways to supplement the regular patrol force from Wednesday, November 24th, through Sunday, November 28th. Troopers from all 22 barracks across the state and from specialized units will be deployed in directed enforcement assignments in an effort to keep traffic moving, while reducing highway fatalities and injuries.
“We anticipate a significant increase in traffic throughout Maryland and, working with our partners in the State Highway Administration and allied law enforcement, we will be ready to do everything we can to ensure the safety of motorists traveling on our highways,” Colonel Sheridan said. “In addition to strict speed and DUI enforcement, troopers will also be focused on rapid response to incidents that could cause traffic delays, as well as providing assistance to disabled motorists. I ask everyone traveling this weekend to ensure their vehicle is in good running condition, their passengers are all buckled up, and that they make traffic safety their number one priority when they are behind the wheel.”
Funded by state and federal grant money, extra troopers on overtime will be assigned to speed and aggressive driving enforcement details and drunk driving saturation patrols. Their focus will be on Maryland interstates and major highway routes throughout the state.
Commercial vehicle traffic also increases before and after Thanksgiving Day. The State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division will be conducting “Operation Night Owl” during the holiday period. State Police experts in commercial vehicle enforcement will be on-duty focusing on traffic and criminal violations committed by those driving trucks and buses.
Beginning Friday, troopers will also begin high visibility patrols in the areas of shopping centers and malls within their jurisdiction. Troopers will be working in cooperation with local law enforcement efforts in these crime prevention patrols.
The Maryland State Police is adding its warning to the others issued regarding the potential for traffic delays at the Newark toll plaza on I-95 in Delaware. Ongoing reconstruction at the toll plaza has temporarily reduced the number of toll lanes. The Delaware Department of Transportation is warning motorists that increased traffic will lead to delays and possibly significant backups on I-95 approaching the toll plaza.
Motorists headed north on I-95 through Delaware are urged to take alternate routes, or travel at off-peak times if possible. Motorists traveling through the area can obtain updates on Twitter @DelawareDOT, or by tuning to WTMC 1380 AM radio. Motorists can check updates before leaving by visiting www.deldot.gov/traffic/map.ejs.
Troopers are giving their usual advice to drivers during this holiday weekend which includes:
-Don’t drink and drive;
-Don’t drive drowsy;
-Don’t be an aggressive driver;
-Make sure everyone is properly buckled up;
-Obey the speed limits;
-Make sure you have enough fuel and your vehicle is in good running condition before leaving;
-If possible, travel during off-peak hours.
Travelers should also be aware of Maryland’s new law that requires drivers approaching from the rear of an emergency vehicle using visual signals while stopped on a highway to, if possible, ‘make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle.’ This movement should only be done if another lane in the same direction is available and the move can be made safely and without impeding other traffic. If moving to another lane away from the stopped emergency vehicle is not possible, the law requires drivers to ‘slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.’
The intent of the ‘move over’ law is to provide an extra barrier of safety for police officers, fire fighters, and emergency rescue personnel working along Maryland roads. It is hoped drivers will become more aware of police and emergency workers stopped along the road and move away from them or slow down as they pass by the traffic stop or incident scene.
Under Maryland Vehicle Law, emergency vehicles are defined as:
-Vehicles of federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies;
-Vehicles of volunteer fire companies, rescue squads, fire departments, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, and the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute;
-State vehicles used in response to oil or hazardous materials spills;
-State vehicles designated for emergency use by the Commissioner of Correction;
-Special vehicles funded or provided by federal, state, or local government and used for emergency or rescue purposes in Maryland.
Violation of the ‘move over’ law is a primary offense with a fine of $110 and one point. If the violation contributes to a traffic crash, the fine is $150 and three points. If the violation contributes to a traffic crash resulting in death or serious injury, the fine is $750 and three points.