- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office will conduct a sobriety checkpoint Friday night at 9 p.m. in Waldorf as part of a statewide initiative to crack down on drunken and impaired driving.
The department did not release where it would specifically stage the checkpoint and has not decided whether to schedule any others for the remainder of the year, spokeswoman Diane Richardson said.
Charles County has seen an increase in DUIs in 2012 — the sheriff’s office has charged 462 people with driving under the influence versus 431 in the 2011, a 7 percent increase.
“We conduct DUI checkpoints throughout the year and continuously participate in regional efforts aimed at identifying and removing drunk and impaired drivers from our roadways,” Charles County Sheriff Rex Coffey (D) said in a statement. “Our goal is to keep motorists safe.”
As part of the Maryland State Highway Administration’s “Checkpoint Strikeforce” program, Charles County traffic officers have also persuaded 23 local businesses and community organizations to display messages reading “Report Drunk Drivers — Call 911” on their marquee or storefront, Richardson said.
“Our officers are constantly on the lookout for impaired drivers, but we can’t do it alone,” Coffey said. “We need citizens to call us when they see a vehicle being operated in a dangerous manner. Having these messages posted will simply remind people that they can help us take drunk drivers off our roadways.”
December has consistently been one of the deadliest months in Maryland when it comes to drunk-driving fatalities, according to the SHA’s Safety Office.
Last year, 171 people died in alcohol-related crashes in Maryland, up from 163 in 2010. Of those, 28 percent came in accidents involving a driver whose blood alcohol level was the legal limit of .08 or higher.