Enhanced DUI enforcement planned for Holiday Weekend
A sobriety checkpoint in York County and roving DUI patrols in Adams County will be conducted as part of both a national and statewide Independence Day holiday “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” impaired driving mobilization which began June 24th and continues through July 4th.
The sobriety checkpoint will be held sometime between 6 p.m. this Friday and 6 p.m. this Monday. The roving DUI patrols will be conducted during the holiday period as well.
The enhanced enforcement events are all part of the Center for Traffic Safety’s Sobriety Checkpoint and Expanded DUI/Underage Drinking Enforcement Program.
Sobriety checkpoints, roving DUI patrols, and other enforcement activities organized as part of this program are funded with federal grant money provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and established on sections of roadway which have proven to be high incidence for impaired drivers both in terms of crashes and arrests.
Sobriety checkpoints are announced in advance, but roving DUI patrols and other related enforcement activities may or may not be announced in advance.
Parties, picnics and fireworks are just some of the festivities that lead droves of Americans onto our nation’s highways every Fourth of July. Unfortunately, the celebrations too often turn tragic when drinking leads to drunk driving, making the Independence Day celebration one of the deadliest holidays of the year.
Statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in 2014, 164 people were killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or higher. Those preventable deaths make up 41 percent of the 397 people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the Fourth of July period.
It is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Yet, of the 164 people killed in impaired driving crashes during the 2014 July Fourth period, 113 people died in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .15 or higher—almost twice the set limit. In fatal crashes during the 2014 July Fourth period, more than one-fourth (29%) of involved drivers or motorcycle operators had BACs of .15 or higher.
According to data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in 2015, in Pennsylvania, over the Independence Day holiday, there were 2,909 crashes and 36 fatalities. Of those, 429 crashes and 15 fatalities were impaired driving related.
In addition to DUI, the focus of enforcement activity during the upcoming holiday weekend will also be BUI—boating under the influence.
Just as drinking and driving don’t mix, neither do drinking and boating. Individuals who operate their boats while impaired with alcohol and other drugs present a serious public safety concern. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has developed an effective program to help detect, apprehend, and prosecute BUI offenders.
In 2014, PFBC waterways conservation officers arrested a record 92 individuals for boating under the influence. Five-year statistical data shows a steady yearly increase from 54 in 2009, 66 in 2010, 62 in 2011, and 90 in 2013.
In a cooperative, interagency, simultaneous, intensified patrol enforcement initiative, municipal police departments will work with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to call attention to the equally dangerous crime of BUI during the upcoming holiday period.
Since Pennsylvania is a destination boating state, in which most boaters tow their boats to and from local waterways, this effort is particularly important. In many cases, intoxicated boaters get behind the wheel after putting their craft back on a trailer.
While waterways conservation officers cruise the water looking for BUI offenders, municipal police will be watching nearby roads for intoxicated drivers.
The legal limit for operating a watercraft in Pennsylvania is a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent, the same as for driving a vehicle. Although Pennsylvania doesn’t suspend the driver’s license of people convicted of boating under the influence, drivers arrested for DUI can face stiffer fines if they have a violation for boating under the influence on their record.
The Center for Traffic Safety and all of its highway safety partners–including the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the PA DUI Association, Pennsylvania State Police, and municipal police departments–encourage everyone to make arrangements in advance of holiday festivities, and never drive under the influence.
Avoid Drunk Driving Altogether—Use Safe Alternatives to Getting Home
• Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
• Designate a sober driver or use public transportation to get home safely.
• Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app at http://www.nhtsa.gov/link/saferride/.
• If you see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact [Local Law Enforcement].
NHTSA’s SaferRide free app will keep impaired drivers off our roads by allowing users to call a taxi or a friend and by identifying their locations so they can be picked up.
For Android devices, from Google Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nhtsa.SaferRide
For Apple devices, from iTunes:
This Fourth of July, remember to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride after drinking, be strong—take the keys and make arrangements to help them get safely to their destination.
Remember, with all of today’s alternatives to getting home safely, there’s no excuse for getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. Driving impaired is never worth the risk, not to yourself or anyone else. If law enforcement pulls you over for impaired driving this Fourth of July, you can count on being arrested.