DUI arrests are reaching record numbers in York County. State Police in York County made 747 DUI arrests in 2012 — the most made in York County in one year. “The last two years we’ve seen a spike. In 2011 the members here made 711 arrests. This past year, 2012 they made 747 arrests. So we’ve seen a rather large increase the last two years,” said Lt. Frederick Hess, Commander at the York PSP Barracks.
But law enforcement is seeing more than just drunk drivers.
“In the last two years we have seen a large increase in DUI arrests not related to alcohol, that are related to prescription medication abuse and illegal drugs. Our troopers are becoming much more adept to identifying those types of impaired drivers. They’re looking for it 24 hours a day and not just traditional times of the day, in which they would be looking for DUIs say from nine at night to three in the morning,” said Lt. Hess.
And Hess says they are finding them at all hours. “Our troopers have made several arrests for prescription medication and for marijuana use at lunch time.”
York County District Attorney Tom Kearney says drug use while driving is skyrocketing and this is forcing them to react. “With drugs and the availability of medications and illicit drugs it’s becoming a real problem and we’ve taken a proactive approach here in York county and we’re trying to address it,” said Kearney.
“Drug arrests, you know DUI for drugs is the dirty little secret of all of this is that we don’t catch. We didn’t catch a lot of these folks. It’s one thing to smell alcohol on your breath but how do you determine there are drugs in your system? We have instituted a number of programs which are designed to catch those folks and as a result York County has the highest DUI-drug arrests per capita of any county in the state,” Kearney said.
According to Kearney the penalty for driving while under the influence of drugs is the same as if someone had a 0.160 blood alcohol content or higher.