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Police to increase patrols

December 31, 2001

Police to increase patrols



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI
kimy@herald-mail.com


Authorities across the Tri-State area are advising New Year's Eve revelers to party responsibly or spend their holiday in jail.

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Police in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are to increase roving patrols that will be seeking drunken drivers tonight.

Aggressive drivers or those with seat belt or other vehicle violations also will be targeted, Hagerstown City Police Sgt. Mark Renner said.

This is the first holiday season since Maryland lowered its blood alcohol content level for impaired driving from .10 to .08.

Most drivers pulled over for drunken driving still are testing higher than Maryland's new .08 blood alcohol level, according to city, county and state police.

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The blood alcohol content limit in Pennsylvania and West Virginia is .10.

Renner said partygoers should choose a designated driver who will not drink. Designated drivers should be on the lookout for other drivers speeding, swerving or tailgating and avoid them, he said.

Those caught drinking and driving can have their license suspended or face fines, possible jail time and increased insurance costs, Renner said.

"It's just not worth it, especially when the cab company will take you home for free," Renner said.

For the past three years, the Antietam Cab Association has been giving the overindulgent a way to get home safely during the New Year's holiday.

Washington County bartenders and hostesses can call Antietam Cab at 301-393-8811 and a cab will pick up partygoers, cab company co-owner Douglas Shumaker said.

"We won't take them to bars or to other parties but we'll give the a safe ride home," he said.

The Hagerstown cab company will have about eight vehicles out on the road Monday night, he said. In past years, Antietam Cab has given 75 to 100 free rides during the holiday, Shumaker said.

Some people have sent Shumaker a card to show their appreciation after they sobered up days later, but "most don't how they got home," he said.

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