Police Launch Operation ‘Stay Alive, Think and Drive’
Maryland State Police are launching a combined effort in the Capital Beltway region tonight to reinforce Maryland’s impaired driving and move over laws, in an effort to save lives and reduce injuries.
Enforcement efforts for “Operation Stay Alive, Think and Drive” will include a combined initiative with Prince George’s County Police Department and the Montgomery County Police Department. The initiative will focus on locations on and around Interstate 495, the Capital Beltway. This new targeted enforcement initiative begins tonight at 10 p.m. and will continue through January 3, 2015.
“There are far too many injuries and fatalities resulting from avoidable crashes,” said Colonel Marcus Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police. “The safety of our motorists, including public safety personnel, who dedicate their lives to protecting our citizens, is paramount.”
According to the Maryland Highway Safety Office, more than 44,000 people are injured and more than 450 are killed each year in crashes in Maryland. In less than five weeks, five Maryland State Troopers have been struck while on the side of the road, all of the incidents involved suspected drunk drivers. Four of the troopers were injured in the crashes.
On Tuesday, September 23, shortly after 2 a.m., Corporal Hirsch, assigned to the College Park Barrack, was conducting a vehicle search on the right shoulder of the I-495 inner loop, north of the Greenbelt Metro Station. While conducting the vehicle search, an intoxicated driver struck the vehicle being searched. The striking vehicle’s side view mirror struck the back of Corporal Hirsch and took off the driver’s side door of the vehicle that was being searched. Corporal Hirsch was transported to the Prince George‘s County Hospital for treatment and is still recovering from his injuries.
On Sunday, September 28, around 3:30 a.m., Trooper Bandy, assigned to the Forestville Barrack, was on a traffic stop on the outer loop of I-495 at Suitland Road. Trooper Bandy was seated in his vehicle when his vehicle was struck by a suspected impaired driver. After striking Trooper Bandy’s vehicle, the impaired driver’s vehicle struck the vehicle Trooper Bandy had stopped (which was also a suspected impaired driver), and then overturned. Trooper Bandy has just recently returned to duty.
On Saturday, October 18, at 3:30 a.m., Trooper Holland, assigned to the Rockville Barrack, was operating a marked MSP patrol vehicle in the area of Interstate 270 north of Democracy Boulevard in Montgomery County where he was conducting a traffic stop on the right shoulder. Trooper Holland was stopped on the shoulder, emergency equipment activated, and seated in the driver’s seat when a suspected impaired driver struck the rear of his vehicle. As a result of the collision, Trooper Holland suffered neck and back injuries and was transported to Suburban Hospital. Trooper Holland has just recently returned to duty.
On Tuesday, October 28, at 2:30 a.m., Corporal Overby, an 11 year veteran of the Maryland State Police assigned to Forestville Barrack, was stationary in her patrol vehicle while working a construction zone with emergency lights activated and cones set behind her marked patrol car. The work zone is located on northbound I-495 south of U.S. Route 50 in Prince George’s County. Corporal Overby was seated in her patrol vehicle when she was struck on the passenger side by a suspected impaired driver. Corporal Overby is still recuperating from her injuries.
Operation Stay Alive, Think and Drive is a highway safety enforcement initiative designed to reduce motor vehicle crashes and inhibit drunk and/or drugged driving in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. The initiative will also be used to improve compliance with the Move Over Law, the law intended to provide an extra barrier of safety for police, fire and emergency rescue personnel and now tow truck drivers.
The Move Over Law requires motorists to slow down or move over safely to an available lane when approaching an emergency vehicle or a tow truck from the rear with its lights activated. If there is no lane available, the motorists must slow down to a reasonable and prudent speed as they pass the emergency scene.
During this initiative, Maryland State Police, police officers from the Prince George’s County Police Department and the Montgomery County Police Department will work together to target aggressive drivers, distracted drivers, impaired drivers and those who fail to obey the Move Over law. Troopers in marked and unmarked police vehicles in conjunction with other resources, such as canine patrols and license plate readers, will also be used to deter criminal activity.