Anticipating a jump in alcohol-related driving incidents before Christmas, state and local police set up saturation patrols throughout Harford County on Wednesday and Thursday nights, an initiative that led to the arrests of at least four people for driving under the influence and the issuing of more than 100 warnings and citations.
Troopers from the Maryland State Police at the Bel Air barracks and other barracks around the state established the checkpoints at more than a dozen sites on major roadways across the county. Officers assigned to the detail, called the DUI-Aggressive Driving Initiative, stopped 133 vehicles, issuing 35 citations, 91 warnings and 20 orders for equipment repair as of Thursday afternoon, in addition to the four arrests.
They also arrested two people for criminal offenses unrelated to drunken driving detected during traffic stops.
Police planned the operation to coincide with an annual profusion of parties as Christmas approaches.
"During the commencement of the holiday season, many private and public businesses engage in celebrations where alcohol is served, especially on Dec. 23," Sgt. Michael Wann of the Bel Air barracks said in a statement. "Unfortunately, many who attend these celebrations make their holidays too 'merry' and elect to drive home excessively impaired."
Wann said one goal of the initiative is to "educate the motoring public" about the dangers and the prevalence of driving under the influence.
Nineteen people have been killed in traffic accidents in Harford County this year as of Thursday; 12 of these deaths were related to the use of alcohol, drugs or both.