Slow down, stay sober: Advice if you’re hitting the road this holiday weekend

Local police and safety leaders expect traffic this holiday weekend to be back near pre-pandemic volume, and they are asking for your help.

Chrissy Nizer, administrator with the Maryland Department of Transportation, said it’s a critical weekend for safety: “We do not want to lose any more lives on our roadways.”

Maryland Department of Transportation secretary Greg Slater said to follow a few simple rules to do your part: “Drive sober, slow down, buckle up, put your phone and other distractions down.”

With the Bay Bridge as the backdrop, Jim Ports, the executive director of the Maryland Transportation Authority, joined other state leaders in calling on people to make it a safe weekend.

“We ask that you put safety first, second, third and fourth,” he said.

Maryland State Police said you can expect to see a lot of their familiar black-and-green cruisers, as well as pursuit vehicles, out on the roads.

“We will have extra state troopers patrolling the highways from the mountains to the beaches,” Lt. Col. Roland Butler said.

State safety leaders are especially concerned about roadway travel this weekend because the driving trends over the past year have not been good. Some drivers have taken advantage of the decreased volume on the roads to speed and drive more recklessly.

Even with fewer drivers on the roads in 2020, 571 people died on Maryland roadways, and troopers have stopped 2,700 impaired drivers — that’s up 700 from the year before.

There will also be stepped-up enforcement on the water this weekend.

Col. Adrian Baker, with the Maryland Natural Resources Police, said seven people died on state waterways on 2020.

He’s asking people to be very careful and aware this summer season, noting that boat sales went way up during the pandemic.

“It’s not a presumption to think those people coming toward you are in experienced,” Baker said.

Kyle Cooper

Weekend and fill-in anchor Kyle Cooper has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years, Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP, Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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