Additional state police patrol Maryland streets for Thanksgiving Day 2022

PIKESVILLE, MD — With more than 1 million Marylanders expected to drive 50 or more miles this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the Maryland State Police will be increasing patrols to target disabled, aggressive and distracted drivers, officials said.

The State Police Driver’s Disability Reduction Efforts Team, also known as the SPIDRE team, will also be patrolling this weekend to remove dangerous drivers from Maryland’s highways who are endangering the lives of other drivers. Enforcement with saturation patrols at all 23 MSP barracks in the state is planned, according to a press release.

From Wednesday, November 23 through Saturday, November 26, state police actions include saturation patrols in areas known to have higher numbers of accidents or arrests for DUI.

According to AAA, 956,000 Marylanders will travel by car to their Thanksgiving destination. That high volume increases the likelihood of an accident involving an impaired, distracted or aggressive driver, state police said.

The National Safety Council estimates that 518 people could die on US roads this Thanksgiving holiday season.

Police are urging drivers to schedule a sober driver and avoid driving with disabilities. Drivers should place cell phones behind the wheel and obey Maryland’s Move Over laws. Failure to comply with these laws may result in fines and/or imprisonment.

If you are convicted of drunk driving:

  • A first violation could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for up to one year. Twelve (12) points will be assessed on your driver’s license and your driver’s license may be revoked for up to six (6) months.
  • A second violation could result in a $2,000 fine and up to two years in prison (with a mandatory five-day minimum). Twelve (12) points will be assessed towards your license and your license may be revoked for up to one year.
  • For two convictions within a five-year period, a mandatory suspension is followed by a required minimum period of participation in the Ignition Interlock Program.
  • You may be required to participate in an alcohol abuse testing and program.

Maryland law prohibits using a cellphone and texting while driving, state police said.

First offenders caught using a cellphone while driving face a maximum fine of $83, second offenders $140, and third offenders $160. Drivers can also be fined $70 and have a spot on their driving record if caught texting while driving. If cell phone use contributes to an accident, the fine can increase to $110 and three points on your driver’s license.

The increased enforcement effort against distracted driving comes after the passage of Jake’s Law. Jake’s Law has been in effect since 2014 and is named after Jake Owen who died in 2011 at the age of 5 in a car accident caused by a distracted driver.

The law states that a driver who causes serious injury or death while talking or texting a cellphone can be sentenced to up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Police officers can stop drivers if they see such a violation.

Maryland’s Move Over law requires drivers to change lanes or slow down when approaching a stopped, stationary, or parked vehicle displaying warning signals — including hazard lights, road flares, or other warning signals such as traffic cones, warning signs, or non-vehicle warning signals.

When changing lanes away from the stopped vehicle is not possible, the law requires drivers to slow to an appropriate speed that is safe for the prevailing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions. Breaking the law is an offense with a $110 fine and a spot on your driver’s license. If the violation causes a crash, the fine is $150 and 3 points. If there is death or serious injury, the fine is $750 and 3 points.

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