Driver crackdown deemed a success State police focus on alcohol, safety in weekend sweep

December 22, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

The mission -- no fatal accidents and increased public awareness -- was accomplished as troopers from Westminster made 12 arrests in two weekend operations designed to curb drunken driving and prevent tragedy on Carroll County highways.

The operations, Holiday Cheer II and National Holiday Lifesaver, began at 6 p.m. Friday.

The former, an eight-hour saturation of state highways with an additional 200 troopers, ended at 2 a.m. Saturday.

The latter, which was funded by a federal grant, continued for 54 hours, ending at midnight Sunday.

"We had no fatalities, only three suspected alcohol-related collisions and made a dozen [drunken-driving] arrests," 1st Sgt. Eric Danz, a spokesman for the Westminster barracks, said yesterday.

About 15 troopers from the Westminster barracks participated in the Friday-to-Saturday detail, Danz said. In that span, two drunken-driving arrests were made, and troopers issued more than 60 citations or warnings for speeding and safety-belt violations.

In the same eight-hour span, Maryland troopers made 82 drunken-driving arrests and issued nearly 2,000 citations and warnings statewide. The operation was paid for by a State Highway Administration grant.

For the weekend, troopers in Carroll County issued 82 citations for speeding and 33 for safety-belt violations.

Twenty-six people have died this year on Carroll County roads, seven more than in 1997.

"Normally, we may have about five drunken-driving arrests on a weekend, so to arrest more than double that number [this weekend] was exceptional," Danz said.

"Preventing tragedy, especially during the holiday season, is certainly worth the effort," he added.

Additional special patrols -- "randomly located and always unannounced" -- will be conducted through the holidays in Carroll County to get drunken drivers off the road, Danz said.

"With greater visibility, we hope those who plan to attend holiday parties will plan ahead and not drink and drive," he said.

Pub Date: 12/22/98

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