Maryland State Police is ramping up patrols in anticipation of a traffic surge over Memorial Day weekend.

Starting Friday, troopers from every barrack will focus enforcement on impaired driving, aggressive driving, speeding, distracted driving and other violations, a news release from the agency states. More troopers will work overtime, thanks to highway safety grants from the Maryland Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office.

Troopers have arrested about 2,700 impaired drivers so far this year — 700 more than at this time the year prior. Citing AAA, police said an "estimated 806,000 Marylanders are planning a getaway for Memorial Day weekend," a 63 percent spike from a year ago. "Of those planning to travel in Maryland, 746,900 are forecast to travel by vehicle this holiday weekend, a 53 percent increase" in a year, police said.

Motorists can expect enforcement to remain high throughout the summer, according to police. 

Drivers are advised to check travel conditions before hitting the road. MDOT SHA provides information at roads.maryland.gov, or chart.state.md.us. Drivers can also call 511 or visit md511.org.

If you are attending a Memorial Day gathering:

  • Designate your sober driver in advance and give that person your car keys.
  • If you’re planning on driving, avoid drinking.
  • Consider using public transportation, call a taxi or use a ride-share service if you don’t have a sober driver.
  • Don’t let a friend drive if you think they are impaired.
  • If you see someone who you believe is driving impaired, call police.
  • Always buckle up.
  • Don’t text, use a cellphone that is not hands-free or drive distracted.

If you are hosting a Memorial Day gathering:

  • Remember, you can be held liable if someone you served alcohol to ends up in an impaired-driving crash.
  • Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Ensure sober drivers or alternative modes of transportation are set up in advance for guest who are planning to drink alcoholic beverages.
  • Have contact information for local taxi companies readily available.
  • Take away the keys from anyone who is thinking of driving impaired.

Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller 

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