Police to increase patrols on BW Parkway for Labor Day weekend

Police investigate. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
WASHINGTON — U.S. Park Police will be increasing their presence on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway during Labor Day weekend, searching for drunk or otherwise impaired drivers — so your Labor Day weekend plans aren’t set until you find a designated driver.

Labor Day weekend is one of the most dangerous for drivers, a statement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, and the BW Parkway is one of the most heavily traveled roads in the area.

“Speeding, aggressive, distracted and impaired driving are some of the most prevalent and unsafe and illegal behaviors on the parkway,” said National Park Service Spokesman Ethan Alpern. “U.S. Park Police will be out there watching for unsafe behavior and making sure they hold those accountable for not following the rules of the road.”

Officials recommend planning the night before it begins. Either ask a trusted, sober friend for a ride or plan to take a taxi or use a ride-sharing app.

If drunken driving being deadly isn’t enough of a deterrent, police offered some more incentives to find a ride:

  • DUI drivers could face jailtime.
  • You could lose your license.
  • It’s expensive. In addition to lawyer fees, there are court and towing costs, repairs if there was a crash and higher insurance rates.

A finance company looked at statistics from the NHTSA for the years of 2011 to 2015 to rank which holidays were the deadliest for drivers.

Labor Day weekend came second only to Memorial Day.

The weekend’s enforcement action is part of a broader attempt by the National Park Service, which maintains the road from the Maryland line up to Columbia, to make it safer for drivers.

“This year alone we’ve made a number of improvements to the Parkway,” said Alpern. “We’ve painted new lane markings, we’ve removed overgrown vegetation to improve visibility. We’ve installed weather and traffic monitoring devices in cooperation with the state of Maryland.”

“The ultimate goal here is to cultivate and build a safe driving culture on the BW Parkway,” he said. “It’s going to take time, and this is only one small part of a lot of great things we’re trying to do.”

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2017 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up