DUI checkpoints established for St. Pat’s weekend

DOVER — Everyone knows that St. Patrick’s Day, particularly when it arrives on a weekend like it does this year, brings out the revelers and those looking to celebrate the traditional Irish green-tinted holiday.

The police want to let the public know that they’re also aware of what will be taking place — and they don’t want to see any of it spill over onto the state’s roadways.

That’s why the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration, law enforcement and transportation officials from Delaware, Maryland and Virginia have partnered for the second year to try and save lives on the roadways during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, officials said.

Law enforcement from 36 agencies across the Delmarva Peninsula will team up for a High Visibility Enforcement effort on U.S. 13 and U.S. 113 throughout the weekend. While St. Patrick’s Day will officially take place on Sunday, there are several celebrations planned for today, as well.

Saturation patrols will run throughout the U.S. 13 and U.S. 113 corridors in the three states with law enforcement on the lookout for impaired drivers.

U.S. 13 is comprised of 289 total miles — 137 in Virginia; 103 in Delaware; and 49 in Maryland.

It is home to approximately 150 establishments that have liquor licenses along its length in Maryland alone.

“All of us here at the Delaware Office of Highway Safety would like to thank our partner agencies for working together to have a greater impact on reducing impaired driving,” said Richard Klepner, Impaired Driving Program Manager for the Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “It is through coordinated efforts like this along U.S. 13 and U.S. 113, that we can increase awareness and safety for all motorists on our roads.”

In 2017, there were 39 DUI-related fatal crashes in Delaware and 3,997 DUI arrests.

There were two DUI-related fatalities during St. Patrick’s Day in Delaware weekend last year.

Over the past five years, Delaware police have made a total of 228 impaired driving arrests for the same holiday period.

Delaware motorists can text “saferide” to 99000 for a link to download Lyft and Uber apps or get a list of local companies providing safe rides.

The state of Maryland is conducting multiple enforcements on U.S. 13 where there were 138 crashes from 2013 until ’16 resulting from alcohol and/or drug impairment. Participating agencies in Maryland issued 125 citations during last year’s enforcement effort, including 45 for speeding and made four impaired driving arrests.

“This effort is a great example of state and local law enforcement agencies joining forces to save lives on our roadways,” said Chrissy Nizer, Administrator for the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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