MSP's Berlin Barrack Takes On Drunk Driving - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

MSP's Berlin Barrack Takes On Drunk Driving

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BERLIN, Md. - Drunk driving remains a top preventable cause of death for thousands of Americans nationwide, and some new data show that it's on the decline.

Maryland State Police Berlin have made reducing that crime a priority and they are taking drunk driving head-on in Worcester county.

The results are positive: drunk driving arrests in Worcester county were up 10 percent in 2013 - a result of strategic enforcement by the Berlin Barrack.

"We've taken a couple of our troopers and have dedicated them to what we would call a drunk driver enforcement team," Lieutenant Earl Starner said. "It lets us use our best resources in the most efficient way possible."

Starner says those numbers aren't necessarily indicative of the drunk driving problem itself, but could be the result of how much focus and the amount of manpower put behind it.

And for the Berlin Barrack, the attention dedicated by the drunk driver enforcement team, along with strategic shift changes, trooper training, and partnerships with other agencies has helped take more impaired drivers off the road, and prevent alcohol related accidents.

In Maryland, those crashes were down 17 percent in 2013. But across the country, 10,322 people died in alcohol related crashes in 2012. There were 505 deaths in Maryland, 114 in Delaware and 777 in Virginia.

For the Berlin Barrack, protecting Worcester county brings it's own difficulties with the influx of visitors to Ocean City.

"This county is unique in the number of liquor licenses that are issued, and obviously ocean city is a big part of that," Starner said.

He commends the number of ways the town offers people to get around without driving if they have had too much. He also notes that the Barrack has a close relationship with Ocean City police, and they'll continue to work together in the future.

He adds that while they've had success in a number of things they've done at the Berlin barrack, Starner says two of the most effective things they've done and that they'll keep doing are DUI checkpoints -- And saturation points with other law enforcement agencies, where they stop drivers and hand out important information on drunk driving.

"Its fine for people to drink, they just need to do it responsibly."

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