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Police patrols beefed up for holiday weekend

May 28, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Holiday fun will be on the minds of many people this Memorial Day weekend but area police agencies don't want motorists to forget to be safe.

They say motorists should obey speed limits, avoid drinking and driving, buckle up, stay alert, be calm behind the wheel and plan trips carefully.

In Maryland, more than 75 additional troopers will on road patrol over the holiday weekend.

Sobriety checkpoints, child safety seat checks and aggressive enforcement are planned, according to Maryland State Police Superintendent David Mitchell.

Helicopter crews from all eight agency hangars will be available not only for medical emergencies, but also for rescues, searches and keeping tabs on highway traffic.

Maryland troopers will patrol highways in cruisers, cars, trucks and motorcycles.

All these efforts are part of Operation CARE, for Combined Accident Reduction Effort, a nationwide program targeting drivers on the interstates.

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West Virginia State Police also are partners in CARE, according to Sgt. Rob Blair at the Martinsburg detachment.

"We start Friday evening with our extra DUI patrols, trying to keep drunken drivers off the roads," Blair said.

He added that he hopes traffic will move smoothly on Interstate 81 through Berkeley County over the holiday.

"Seat-belt awareness is also part of our holiday enforcement," Blair said.

Pennsylvania State Police will also participate in two special enforcement efforts over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend targeting speeders and drunken drivers, according to a press release from State Police Commissioner Paul J. Evanko.

Sobriety patrols are being funded in part by the Selective Traffic Enforcement Against Drunk Driving program.

The enforcement effort begins today and runs through Monday.

During the four-day period in 1998, Evanko said six people were killed and 381 injured in 381 accidents investigated by Pennsylvania State Police.

In an effort to reduce those numbers, police will look for aggressive and speeding drivers and conducting sobriety patrols.

Eighty of the accidents last year were alcohol-related, and alcohol was involved in three of the fatal crashes. One of those killed was a bicyclist who was intoxicated, Evanko said.

Pennsylvania troopers last year charged 338 people for driving under the influence, issued 6,723 speeding tickets and cited 177 people for seat-belt violations.

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