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The holidays are a time for celebration, but the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office is concerned with making sure roadways are safe so the merriment and festivities can continue.

The sheriff’s office will be continuing saturation patrols through New Year’s Day in an effort to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the roads. Officers will be based at target locations throughout the county based on DUI and crash data, Sheriff Mike Evans (R) said.

“The ultimate goal is to deter people from drinking and driving,” Evans said. “If they don’t, [the goal is] to catch them before they hurt themselves or somebody else.”

The sheriff’s office has continued with patrols and checkpoints throughout the holiday season and will continue until Wednesday. At a checkpoint, deputies will stop cars and talk with drivers to see if they are impaired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Through saturation patrol, deputies will patrol areas where there have been a number of intoxicated drivers in the past.

“If we stop someone before they cause an accident, we’ve saved maybe their life or someone else’s,” Evans said.

Last Friday, a checkpoint was camped at East Chesapeake Road and Twin Shields Drive on Route 260 with 14 deputies from 10 p.m. until midnight, Ireland said. Of the 500 cars that passed through the checkpoint, one was escorted out for a DUI, and one arrest was made due to some attempting to evade the checkpoint.

While sobriety checkpoints are more for education, Ireland said, saturation patrol is more for identifying impaired drivers on the road and removing them before they do any harm to themselves or others.

Ireland suggested one way for drivers to avoid contact with police: “[A] designated driver,” Ireland said. “That’s the main thing — trying to keep themselves safe but to look out for others as well.”

snewman@somdnews.com