Approximately 1,500 motorists were stopped and two people were arrested during Maryland's first weekend of roadblock operations aimed at reducing drunken driving, state police said yesterday.

A police official said that 726 vehicles were stopped Saturday night and 769 Friday night, the first two nights of the "Sobriety Checkpoint" program.

One person was arrested each night.

"We think that this is important that on these two nights at least 1,500 people became well aware of what we are trying to do. They will think twice before drinking and driving," said Dan McCarthy, a state police spokesman.

McCarthy said that the primary purpose of the roadblocks was not to arrest drunken drivers, but to educate motorists about the problem and deter those who might consider driving after drinking.

Checkpoints were set up Friday night at state Route 24 in Emmerton; state Route 152 between state Route 7 and U.S. Route 40 in Joppa and U.S. Route 40 west of Aberdeen.

Police said that the roadblocks on Saturday night were on state Routes 24 and 152, but would not release the exact locations.

Motorists were stopped briefly and advised of the purpose of the stop, then allowed to continue on their way unless an officer detected the smell of alcohol or observed some behavior that led the officer to believe the driver had been drinking.

In such cases, police were permitted to pull drivers to the side of the road and administer breath tests or other tests to determine sobriety.