Harrisburg, PA – With the festive holiday party season in full swing, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) is teaming up with 10,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide to participate in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” impaired driving enforcement campaign from Dec. 13 to Dec. 31, 2017.
Troopers will participate in dedicated DUI patrols and checkpoints to identify and arrest impaired drivers, with the goal of ensuring everyone on the road makes it to their destinations safely. In addition, certified drug recognition experts — troopers who have received specialized training to distinguish the physiological signs of impairment caused by a wide range of controlled substances — will be on the lookout for drivers who are impaired by drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.
“No matter where your holiday celebrations take you, it is important to plan ahead for a safe way home and to never get behind the wheel impaired,” said Major Edward Hoke, director, Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol. “Don’t put yourself, your passengers, or others at risk by making the decision to drink and drive.”
According to the NHTSA, 37,461 people nationwide were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016. Twenty-eight percent (10,947) of those fatalities involved a driver who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08. In Pennsylvania, PennDOT data shows that 297 people died in alcohol related crashes in 2016. Alcohol was a factor in 25 percent of traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania last year.
“Driving under the influence has serious consequences that State Police and our local law enforcement partners see every day, which is why we have adopted a zero-tolerance approach to DUI enforcement.” Major Hoke said. “If you drive impaired, you will be pulled over and you will be arrested.”
Criminal penalties for a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania vary based on several factors, but may include thousands of dollars in fines, a license suspension, and even prison time.
To help people make it home from their holiday celebrations safely, the NHTSA created the SaferRide smartphone app. Once installed, the app can be used to quickly pinpoint the user’s location and call a taxi or trusted friend for a ride home. The app is free and available for Android and Apple devices.
For more information about the Pennsylvania State Police, visit www.psp.pa.gov.