OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) late last month engaged in a concentrated and focused effort to combat impaired driving and underage drinking and is pledging more of the same in the coming weeks.< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office">
In conjunction with a national program conducted by law enforcement agencies in Maryland around the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the OCPD in late November participated in Project SOLO, or Saving Our Loved Ones. An extension or expansion of standard enforcement efforts, Project SOLO deployed mass patrols on area roads known to have higher instances of alcohol-related crashes.
“Impaired driving is a grave issue that results in the death of someone in Maryland every 57 hours,” said OCPD Chief Bernadette DiPino this week. “Just one loss of life is one too many and a dedicated effort such as Project SOLO will help reduce such preventable, shocking consequences from happening on our roadways.”
In Ocean City, the intense enforcement effort began in late November. At around 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24, multiple officers saturated specific stretches of roadway in the resort area to identify and arrest drunk drivers. The enforcement effort led to the arrests of multiple drunk drivers.
Ocean City’s Project SOLO efforts were concentrated on areas known to be trouble spots for drinking and driving incidents and arrests. The high risk zones were identified through data analysis of crashes and will continue to be targeted and saturated by local law enforcement throughout the holiday season and the rest of the year. According to the OCPD, there will be four more Project SOLO enforcement efforts conducted during the month of December.
Much of the Project SOLO enforcement effort in the area was concentrated during the night and early morning hours when alcohol-related crashes and arrests are most prevalent. For example, in 2010, the most recent data available, alcohol-related fatal crashes were four times more likely to occur at night than during the daylight hours. According to nationwide statistics, 55 percent of drunk-driving-related fatal crashes occurred between midnight and 3 a.m., while 42 percent occurred between 3 and 6 a.m.
“Project SOLO is about taking impaired drivers off the road, saving lives and raising awareness of the importance of safe driving,” said DiPino.