HARRISBURG, Pa. -- If you are traveling this weekend, from now until July 5th, you will likely notice an increased state police presence on Central Pennsylvania highways, and waterway officers will also be out patrolling. It's all part of an effort to keep our roads and waterways safe.
Officials say if you're thinking about enjoying an adult beverage, stay smart or stay home -- so everyone stays safe.
The nice weather and a major holiday weekend put roadway and waterway safety officials on high alert, additional patrolling to keep you safe.
"On a holiday weekend, we try to get as many officers out to make contact with people," said Mark Sweppenhiser, a Waterways Conservation Officer for the Pennsylvania Fishing and Boating Commission.
With the amount of waterway arrests on the rise, 90 in 2016 up from 48 in 2015, Sweppenhiser says just having an additional presence near the water increases safety for all.
"That interaction allows people to, one, to see us, that officer presence, and may discourage bad behavior. That's what we're trying to do: discourage the behavior so when you're out there having a good time, you can continue having a good time," explained Sweppenhiser.
DUI’s are in up in Pennsylvania too, and with thousands traveling this holiday, troopers will be looking for drunk drivers.
"Roughly 50,000 DUI’s in the state of Pennsylvania for the state police, and half of those were drug DUI’S, and another half of that was both alcohol and drugs combined," said Trooper Witkowski.
According to PennDOT, last Fourth of July, there were nearly 300 alcohol related crashes in Pennsylvania. While officials say it may be tempting to drink while boating or driving, the laws are the same. You’re boating under the influence if your BAC is .08 or higher, and officials will be out looking for both DUI's and BUI's.
"That interaction I'm looking for bloodshot eyes. I'm smelling for alcohol. I'm looking for pupil dilation," said Sweppenhiser.
And, if you are out on the water, officials recommend wearing a life-vest, regardless if you’re drinking or not.
"The problems of not wearing a life-vest to start with, and then being potentially inebriated and/or dehydrated, which adds to the inebriation, just compounds the problem," said Mary Gibson, who serves on the Boating Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania Fishing and Boating Commission.
Troopers remind people: if you suspect someone is drinking and driving, call 9-1-1. Try to get a license plate and make of vehicle. Officials say they’re not trying to ruin anyone’s fun; they just want to keep people safe.