Sheriff’s Office Targets Impaired Drivers

Month Long Effort Targets Drivers Under the Influence

(Bel Air, Md. – August 15, 2006) - - Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not the thing to do in Harford County. During the next several weeks, the Harford County Sheriff's Office will be targeting impaired drivers throughout the county.

“Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a recipe for disaster”, stated Sheriff Tom Golding. “The purpose of this initiative is to identify those drivers who by their actions are a danger to themselves and others,” Golding stated.

Impaired driving is a reduction in the performance of critical tasks due to the effects of drugs or alcohol, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The latest statistics from the NHTSA indicates impaired driving kills someone on our nation’s highways every 30 minutes. Nationwide approximately 35 people die each day and nearly 13,000 people per year as the result of traffic accidents involving a driver or motorcycle operator who is impaired.

Too often even drivers who have been chosen as “designated drivers” drink to the point they feel “buzzed”, but convince themselves and others they are okay to drive. Sadly they are mistaken.

Impaired driving is no accident – nor is it a victimless crime. The tragedies and costs associated with drinking and driving impaired do not end with the potential death, disfigurement, disability or injury caused by impaired drivers. Violators often face time in jail, the loss of their driver’s license, increased insurance rates and other unanticipated penalties.

“Buzzed driving is drunk driving”, stated Sgt. Joseph VanSeeters, supervisor of the Harford County Sheriff's Office Traffic Unit. “We are targeting young drivers in particular who often drink to excess and then get behind the wheel,” VanSeeters remarked.

Fortunately much of the tragedy that comes from impaired driving crashes could be prevented if everyone would heed a few simple precautions. The Harford County Sheriff's Office recommends following these tips for safer motoring:

  • Be responsible and don’t drive impaired – you will be caught.
  • If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before doing so.
  • Take mass transit, a taxicab or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
  • Report impaired drivers to law enforcement to help prevent an accident.
  • Always wear you seat beat and obey all traffic laws – it’s still your best defense against an impaired driver.

During the course of the next several weeks, the Harford County Sheriff's Office will use saturation patrols and at least one sobriety checkpoint in an effort to identify and apprehend impaired and drunk drivers. In 2005, the Harford County Sheriff's Office conducted 31,486 traffic stops which resulted in 436 drunken driving arrests.