For Immediate Release:
September 1, 2016
Heavy Labor Day Weekend Traffic Anticipated on Maryland's Highways & Toll Facilities
Motorists Urged to Plan for a Safe & Sober Ride;
Travel Off-Peak at the Bay Bridge
As summer comes to an unofficial close, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is preparing for increased traffic on Maryland's highways and toll facilities this Labor Day holiday weekend. MDOT reminds motorists that having a plan for a safe and sober ride home can be the difference between life and death.
"More than 170 people are killed every year on Maryland's roads by drunk and drugged drivers," said Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn. "Every one of those deaths was preventable, and each victim was a family member or friend who is not alive today because of someone else's stupidity."
MDOT's Highway Safety Office offers the following tips for a safe Labor Day weekend:
· Download Maryland's smartphone app known as ENDUI (pronounced END-DUI) for free from the iTunes store or the Google Play store. With key features such as creating a designated driver list or instantly locating the nearest taxi service or public transportation, ENDUI makes it easier than ever to prevent impaired driving.
· Designate a safe and sober driver before the party begins.
· If you don't have a designated driver, plan to call a cab or a ride share, use public transportation or have a sober friend or family member drive you.
· Never let friends drive if they have had too much alcohol to drink.
· For information on MDOT's Toward Zero Deaths campaign, visit towardzerodeathsmd.com.
Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest: The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police will remain vigilant and target impaired and aggressive drivers, seatbelt violators and criminal activity. Additional MDTA Police patrols will be on the lookout for impaired drivers at Maryland toll facilities throughout the holiday weekend.
Plan ahead, travel off-peak and Drive Smart. Arrive Safe: The MDTA anticipates more than 1.8 million motorists will travel its toll facilities over the holiday weekend. This total represents a one percent increase in traffic volumes compared to last year. More than 353,000 motorists are expected to travel the Bay Bridge alone.
Travel off-peak when heading to and from the Eastern Shore. The best times to travel the Bay Bridge this holiday weekend include:
- Thursday - after 6 p.m.
- Friday - before 10 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
- Saturday - before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
- Sunday/Monday - before 10 a.m. and after midnight.
The E-ZPass Maryland Stop-in Centers and Customer Service Center will be closed on Monday, Sept. 5. Visit ezpassmd.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824. Additionally, MDOT's Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will close all offices on Saturday, Sept. 3, and Monday, Sept. 5. All full-service Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) stations also will close. Seven of MVA's nine self-service VEIP kiosks will remain open and are available 24/7. The Owings Mills and Baltimore City kiosks will both be closed on Monday due to parking lot resurfacing. For more information about online MVA transactions, please click here.
The MDTA and Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will lift non-emergency and construction-related lane closures on state highways from Friday, Sept. 2, to Tuesday, Sept. 6. MDTA courtesy patrols and SHA highway response technicians will be deployed to assist disabled vehicles, help clear debris from the roadway and work to open lanes as soon as possible after a crash.
For your SAFETY and the SAFETY of other motorists and emergency personnel:
- In the event of a property damage crash, Move It - move vehicles onto a shoulder to exchange information.
- Look up, Look out and stay alert for pedestrians and cyclists, especially during school arrival and dismissal times.
- Move Over when approaching an emergency vehicle or tow truck using visual signals. If you are unable to move over, slow down.
- Avoid changing lanes while traveling over bridges and through tunnels.
- Headlights are required at all times on the Bay Bridge.
- Always Wear Your Seat Belt: Seat belts are your best defense in a crash. Being properly secured keeps you in control of your vehicle and ready to react to a hazardous situation. Buckle up ... that includes your children and other passengers in front and rear seats.
- Know Before You Go and use 5-1-1 or log onto md511.org for travel conditions throughout the State. Maryland's 5-1-1 System features a "Reach the Beach" Prompt. From a hands-free mobile device, call 5-1-1 and say "Reach the Beach" for travel conditions from the Bay Bridge and points east to the ocean resorts.
- For real-time updates on major incidents, follow the MDTA on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions. Visit baybridge.com to view traffic cameras and to sign up for email alerts.
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