State Police will be stepping up its presence on I-70 and I-68,
There will be plenty of State Troopers along Interstates 70 and 68 on Thursday, looking out for speeders and distracted drivers.
Captain Mike Fluharty, Troop Commander for western Maryland, says the enforcement area will extend from Baltimore city to the West Virginia state line. It will include Baltimore, Howard, Carroll, Frederick, Washington, Alleghany and Garrett Counties.
He notes that it’s similar to enforcement efforts which occur during holiday weekends. “We’re trying to get out of the norm of stepping up traffic enforcement just on holidays or larger traffic days,” says Captain Fluharty. “We’re trying to get into a rhythm of maintaining a constant surveillance and constant presence out on the interstates.”
He says a lot of this follows the recent decision by the State of Maryland to raise the speed limit on I-70. On April 4th, 2016, the speed limit increased to 70-miles per hour on I-70 along a 31-mile stretch from Route 29 in Howard County to Route 144 in Frederick County, and along a 45-mile stretch from Route 180 in Frederick County to the Pennsylvania state line. In October, 2015, the speed limit went up to 70-miles per hour on I-68 from Washington County to the West Virginia state line.
“The Maryland Highway Safety Office was gracious because of the speed limit increase to 70-miles per hour. There is grant money now available for special education and enforcement for the new law change effective in April. So it’s been beneficial to help get extra troopers and extra enforcement out there. And actually more higher visibility is what we’re looking for,” says Captain Fluharty.
State Police say troopers will also be on the lookout for distracted drivers and those not using their seatbelts, as well as speeders.
He says in many instances, an increased police presence on roadways can change the behavior of many motorists. “The high visibility sometimes will remind people so we don’t have to write the tickets and we don’t have to do the enforcement action,” he says.”I know every trooper out there’s not tickled about writing citations. So if we can prevent something before we have to take action, that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Captain Fluharty says despite the high police presence, motorists should continue to drive safely, don’t speed and keep their attention to their driving. “We just want people to be safe. Just because we’re not visible, it doesn’t mean they have to change their driving. So we just want everybody out there to get where they’ve got to be safely,” he says.