St. Patrick’s Day Sobriety Checkpoint

Checkpoint Strikeforce In Operation for St. Patrick’s Day

(HARFORD COUNTY, MD) — As part of their continuing efforts to curb incidents of drinking and driving, Harford County sheriff’s deputies will conduct a sobriety checkpoint on Thursday March 17, 2005.

The Harford County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Mid-Atlantic Region, state and local transportation and law enforcement agencies from the Mid-Atlantic States are continuing Checkpoint Strikeforce, the nation’s first border-to-border sobriety checkpoint initiative. The checkpoint blitz will be in operation during March and especially on and around St. Patrick’s Day.

Sgt. Joseph VanSeeters, Supervisor of the Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit says, “Checkpoint Strikeforce is a zero tolerance offensive.” “We know people want to go out and celebrate on St. Patrick’s Day and we know people will drink,” VanSeeters said. But we want people to use common sense. VanSeeters says it’s really quite simple. “All we want folks to do is plan ahead. People plan to go out that night with friends. People select the bar or restaurant and they select the friends they are going with and when to go,” he said. Why not select a designated driver, or plan to call a cab or a friend to take you home, asks VanSeeters. “It is a natural fit for the evening and doesn’t take but a few minutes, he said, adding that by planning accordingly now saves you from having to plan your bail, planning your court appearance, planning for losing your license and planning for your stay in jail”.

“Over the last five years in our region, half of all crash fatalities on St. Patrick’s Day have been alcohol related,” says NHTSA Mid-Atlantic Region Administrator, Elizabeth A. Baker, Ph.D. “Since 2000, 63 out of the 125 total crash fatalities in our region involved alcohol. Our objective is to reduce alcohol-related crashes, injuries and fatalities through highly visible and well publicized sobriety checkpoints”

Sheriff R. Thomas Golding says people should be able to enjoy themselves but must do so responsibly. “If you drink, don’t risk your freedom, your license, or your life. Luck won’t save you. I urge you to use a designated driver. If you choose to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, we’ll see you at our sobriety checkpoint where you will be arrested,” Golding said.

The Harford County Highway Safety Committee offers the following safety advice to motorists who encounter a potential drunk driver:

  • Maintain a safe following distance.
  • Do not attempt to pass the vehicle.
  • If the driver is behind you, turn right at the nearest intersection. Let the driver pass before returning to your route.
  • Move to the shoulder and stop if the driver is coming head-on.
  • Report suspected drunk drivers. Give the location and direction of travel, and provide a description of the vehicle and driver. Do not put yourself or your passengers in jeopardy to obtain this information.

For more information about Checkpoint Strikeforce contact the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit at 410-692-7872 or visit the NHTSA Web site at

Press Release

March 10, 2005