Thirty officers from 20 law enforcement agencies across Maryland graduated from the University of Maryland’s DUI Institute, a rigorous 40-hour program that trains officers in alcohol-impaired driving laws and enforcement.
“Each year, impaired driving – either from alcohol or drug use – plays a contributing factor in the fatal and serious injury crashes we see in Maryland,” said Chrissy Nizer, administrator of the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) and Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “We commend the institute’s graduates on their dedication to highway safety, and we look forward to working with them to help reduce roadway deaths.”
In April, MDOT officials said preliminary numbers indicated 511 people died in vehicle crashes in Maryland last year. The closure of additional investigations has since adjusted that number to 513 deaths. According to the MDOT MVA Highway Safety Office, 139 of those fatalities occurred in crashes involving impaired drivers.
During the weeklong DUI Institute at the University of Maryland, College Park, participants are taught the latest on impaired driving countermeasures such as ignition interlocks, DUI courts and sobriety checkpoints. Other topics include police traffic management, the physiological effects of alcohol, its abuse and addiction, and procedures regarding courtroom testimony. Officers also receive advanced training in conducting Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, and practice these techniques with volunteers.
In its 16th year, the DUI Institute was developed by the MDOT MVA Highway Safety Office, the University of Maryland (UMD) Department of Behavioral and Community Health, police officers and national experts.
“This training gives officers the opportunity to improve their skills, from writing reports to providing courtroom testimony,” said Brittany Bugbee, faculty specialist for the UMD School of Public Health. “We aim to make graduates of the DUI Institute more effective in making arrests that lead to convictions of impaired drivers.”
The DUI Institute is sponsored by the MDOT MVA Highway Safety Office and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Officers apply to take the course or are referred by their agency, then go through an interview process to qualify. The course is paid for through grants. Since its inception, more than 450 officers have graduated from the program.
Learn more about the Maryland Highway Safety Office’s Toward Zero Deaths campaign at towardzerodeathsmd.com, on Facebook at TowardZeroDeathsMD, on Twitter at @tzd_maryland and on Instagram at twdzerodeaths_md.