Holiday Alcohol Task Force Underway; Police Urge Public To Choose a Sober Driver

With the holidays approaching, there will be an increase in social events and parties that involve the consumption of alcohol.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2011-2015, twenty-eight percent (3,983) of all people who lost their lives in a traffic crash during the month of December died in a crash that involved a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.

The Montgomery County Police Alcohol Holiday Task Force, comprised of officers from the Alcohol Initiatives Section and patrol officers from the six police districts, as well as officers from the Gaithersburg City Police Department, the Maryland National Capital Park Police Department (Montgomery County Division), Maryland State Police, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and the Takoma Park Police Department, will be devoting their full time and attention to detecting alcohol-related offenses this holiday season.  The task force began on November 16 and will continue through January 7, 2017.

The task force will focus on enforcement of offenses to include:

  • Enforcement of traffic laws in areas known for a high number of alcohol-related tragedies with the goal of getting drunk or drug-impaired drivers off the road.
  • Compliance checks of businesses who hold alcohol licenses by using underage volunteers to attempt to purchase alcohol at establishments (ensuring that shopkeepers are careful not to sell alcohol to minors).
  • Responding to calls for underage drinking parties.  All attendees are screened for alcohol usage, and those who are under age 21 are issued citations. Every person is then ensured a safe ride home.  Parents of juveniles are notified to come and get them. Any parent or other adult who hosts can be held liable and can be issued a citation.  An adult can be held criminally liable if he/she provides alcohol to an individual under 21 years and he/she knew or reasonably should have known the individual would operate a motor vehicle and did operate the vehicle under the influence of alcohol and caused serious injury or death (Alex and Calvin’s Law).
  • Sobriety checkpoints: The location of the checkpoints is based on collision and traffic data focusing on areas that drivers are most at risk for encountering impaired drivers.
  • Responding to calls for service regarding intoxicated persons.

The Montgomery County Police Department wants to remind residents that they can assist in combating alcohol-related crime and collisions this holiday season:

If you plan on drinking alcohol this holiday season, include a sober driver in your plans:

  • If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
  • When you know you’ll be drinking, leave your keys at home or give them to someone else.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a taxi, Uber, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or call Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s SoberRide at 1-800-200-TAXI (The free program is offered nightly from December 16, 2016 to January 1, 2017.

If you believe you are observing a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs:

  • Call 911.  If possible, and without putting yourself in danger, obtain the license plate of the vehicle, the direction of travel of the vehicle, and a description of the vehicle (make, model, color).

If you have information on establishments that are selling alcohol to youth under 21 or over serving patrons:

  • If it is occurring at the present time, you can call the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.
  • If you believe it is an ongoing issue, you can call Crime Solvers toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or leave a Crime Solvers tip here. You can remain anonymous. Please provide as much information as possible.  Tips will be forwarded to the Alcohol Initiatives Section.

If you have information on an underage drinking party:

  • If it is occurring at the present time, you can call the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.

Efforts made by the police and the public will help make this holiday season safer.

NOTE TO MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA:

Members of the media are encouraged to participate in a ride-along with a task force officer during this holiday season.  Please call the Public Information Office at 240-773-5030, option 4, to make arrangements.

 

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