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Q&A: Deputy discusses New Year's Eve DUI enforcement

On New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office will beef up its DUI enforcement efforts.

Three additional deputies will patrol county roads as part of the agency's DUI enforcement prevention.

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Deputy Thomas Vanik will be one of those patrolling on New Year's Eve.

The Times caught up with Vanik and asked about the importance of DUI enforcement, what motorists should do to keep themselves safe and why driving fast isn't the only indicator of an impaired driver.

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Q: While out on DUI enforcement patrol, what will you be looking for?

A:

Basically we patrol the main routes, [Md.] 30, [Md.] 140 and [Md.] 26. We'll have deputies assigned to each of those roadways. What I tend to do is I just drive up and down [Md.] 26 just looking for indicators that people are driving impaired or could possibly be impaired. [I] conduct traffic stops, make contacts with people just to make sure they're not impaired or driving under the influence, and if they are then we'll go through field sobriety tests to determine if they need to be arrested or if they are good to drive.

Q: What are some indicators that someone is driving under the influence?

A:

Swerving over the center line, if they're doing that numerous times. Excessive speed and also traveling significantly below the speed limit, straddling either the shoulder line or the center line and driving without headlights on.

Q: What is the message you want to get out to motorists who may be drinking during the New Year's holiday?

A:

Use your head. Have a designated driver. Make plans in advance because if you go drinking and driving and you have an accident, that one decision can impact not only someone else's life, but your own.

Q: Why is it important to beef up patrols during New Year's?

A:

Historically, it's more of a party day. A lot of people go out to parties, they drink and there's going to be a lot of increased traffic on New Year's. Around 2 or 3 a.m. there's significantly more traffic driving around, so it's important just to make sure that everybody's driving safely and they're not being impacted by impaired drivers.

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Q: You have conducted DUI enforcement in the past. What is one incident that will always stick out to you?

A:

Nothing really sticks out, but you arrest all kinds of people. It's not just your regular drunk. I've arrested people that have good jobs, good families, and they just made a bad decision. It's important to educate these people.

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