A report from Nationwide Insurance indicates that August is the month that is most dangerous for motorists. In August 2017 Montgomery County reported approximately 120 accident injuries. It is difficult to definitely say why there are so many accidents in August. This year, the Maryland State Police are assisting the Montgomery County Police Department with traffic enforcement. Lieutenant Steven DeCerbo explained they are targeting those driving aggressively, distracted drivers, and intoxicated motorists.
Now in the fifth year of existence, the State Police Impaired Driving Effort (SPIDRE) has continued this summer. The goal of the initiative is to reduce traffic fatalities by enhanced enforcement efforts in areas where DUI-related accidents occur more frequently. The Maryland Department of Transportation Highway Safety has been maintaining the necessary funding. In mid-July they successfully conducted “saturation patrols” and sobriety checkpoint stops in Annapolis and across Baltimore County.
During the second weekend of the month, both SPIDRE officers and local units from Annapolis and Glen Burnie Barracks combined their enforcement efforts. The SPIDRE officers arrested three drivers suspected to be impaired and the other teams arrested five more. Lieutenant Colonel Frank Lioi of the Maryland State Police stated that SPIDRE officers are an “elite team of specially trained troops”. Since implementation in 2013, there have been over 2,700 DUI arrests and over 18,000 citations issued.
Maryland Crash Data 
Baltimore New Traffic Program
Meanwhile, efforts in Baltimore County are largely focused on a “traffic calming” project. This involves the installation of speed bumps, elevating intersections, and decreasing the width of some roads to lower the speed of traffic and hopefully lead to a reduction in pedestrian accidents. In school zones and certain road construction project zones more speed cameras are being implemented. The Department of Transportation says that residents in many communities are seeking more traffic speed enforcement efforts locally.
Impaired Driving: Criminal Penalties in Maryland
Those drivers who are determined to be impaired from alcohol or drugs that cause injuries to others may potentially face misdemeanor charges, jail time, and fines of up to $5,000. If an impaired driver causes a fatality while operating a vehicle the charges may be increased to the felony level. The state may bring homicide by motor vehicle charges against offenders with a potential sentence of up to five years.
Impaired Driving: Civil Liability in Maryland
Those operating a vehicle while intoxicated may also face civil liability for injuries, property damage, and fatalities that they cause. If a criminal proceeding is already underway against the motorist the civil litigation may be temporarily delayed. Making matters worse, often these cases are caused by irresponsible drivers that do not have the state-mandated vehicle liability insurance in place at the time. The current coverage minimums required in Maryland are as follows:
- $30,000 of coverage for bodily injury to one person
- $60,000 of coverage for bodily injuries to multiple people
- $15,000 of coverage for property damage
- Uninsured motorist coverage in these same amounts
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage of $2,500 for expenses without regard for who was at fault in the accident
Bringing cases of personal injury or wrongful death against impaired motorists can be complex and should be pursued with assistance from a seasoned attorney.
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