Police plan drunken-driving crackdown on DC-Maryland border

Police in D.C. and Maryland are joining forces this week to crack down on drunken driving, promising “border-to-border enforcement” along a key route between the District and Prince George’s County.

Police agencies will coordinate their efforts Thursday and Friday along Southern Avenue, a 6.5-mile stretch that runs through Southeast D.C. and marks the border with Prince George’s County.

Maryland police agencies will work along five feeder roads to Southern Avenue: Indian Head Highway, Branch Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Marlboro Pike and Central Avenue.

Police departments taking part in the effort are D.C., Prince George’s County, Forest Heights, Seat Pleasant and Maryland State Police.

The effort is the beginning of stepped-up impaired driving enforcement through the rest of the month in an area that has seen an “alarming” number of drunken driving-related crashes and deaths in recent years, according to a news release.

Officials say Prince George’s County and the District’s Wards 7 and 8 have some of the region’s highest impaired driving deaths and injuries. Between 2018 and 2020, more than a third of all of the District’s — roughly 35%— were related to impaired driving and in one of those two wards.

So far in 2021, there have been eight traffic deaths on Southern Avenue.

Roughly a quarter of crashes by impaired drivers in Wards 7 and 8 involved someone with a driver’s permit from Maryland, according to the news release.

In Maryland, meanwhile, 20% of all deaths caused by impaired driving occurred in Prince George’s County in 2019. Over the past five years, on average, about 13% of total impaired crashes in Prince George’s County involved a driver from the District.

“Our officers are committed to achieving a safer community, and our collective enforcement efforts are a part of the solution to eliminate drunken driving. It’s so important that drivers act responsibly not only during the holidays, but all the time,” D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said in a statement.

Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz said: “The holidays are a special time of year for most, and we want our community members to enjoy this season. We need commitment from our drivers that they’ll keep the roads free of drunk drivers so that everyone can have a safe holiday.”

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Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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