The Annapolis Police Department is beginning a new educational program called Know Your Limit to combat drunk driving. Officers will offer free breathalyzer tests and distribute literature concerning drunk driving and available alternatives in Annapolis. The first event is scheduled for Thursday, May 5, Cinco de Mayo, when officers will be located near the Market House.
Most people are aware that Maryland law sets the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for a driver below .08 percent, and even under a .08 drivers can show signs of impairment. However, many people might not realize how much alcohol, or more importantly how little alcohol it takes to reach a BAC of .08 percent. Officers on foot will educate passersby about impaired driving and ask them to participate in the program. Volunteer participants will be asked if they feel safe to drive a car, then they blow into a portable breathalyzer. Participants will be told what their BAC is and given an educational card with information on alcohol consumption and options to get home safely.
“The Annapolis Police Department is committed to educating people so they don’t get behind the wheel while impaired,” said Chief Michael Pristoop. “This program, along with extra officers on patrol looking for drunk drivers will make everyone’s Cinco de Mayo safer.”
“What you don’t know can kill you or someone else,” Mayor Michael Pantelides said. “If you don’t know your real blood alcohol content, you could make a terrible mistake by getting into your vehicle and driving after drinking too much. I hope people take advantage of this interesting and educational opportunity, learning that just a drink or two may be too much and that they should designate a driver ahead of time.”
The Know Your Limit program is not intended as a scare tactic. Instead, it’s intended to provide an educational opportunity to encourage groups to designate a sober driver and make good choices. In April, the Annapolis Police Department met with Annapolis businesses that hold alcoholic beverage licenses to educate them about the program and ensure it is a positive influence on their patrons and does not negatively impact their business.
The Know Your Limit Campaign has been used successfully by police departments across the country. The Annapolis Police Department will also have extra officers working impaired driving enforcement on Cinco de Mayo to catch drivers who make the wrong decision and get behind the wheel after drinking too much. Last year, Annapolis had 48 crashes where alcohol was a factor.