DUI enforcement ramps up for St. Patrick’s Day weekend

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YORK, Pa. - While many take St. Patrick's Day as a good reason to celebrate, officials are hoping those who celebrate do so responsibly.

The York County-based Center for Traffic Safety is administering DUI enforcement efforts in York, Adams and Lancaster counties throughout the weekend through the use of roving DUI patrols.

Since St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday, the day itself could be busier for partygoers, but it's generally a step below the busiest bar nights of the year, according to Barbara Zortman of the Center for Traffic Safety.

"We've actually seen with St. Patrick's Day even when it falls during a weeknight, it's the weekend prior and the weekend after, not just the day of, where we see increased crashes and DUI-related fatalities and crashes," she said.

Because of the recent snowfall, there are few roads in which there is enough room to set up a standard sobriety checkpoint, so the effort this weekend will focus on roving DUI patrols on roads deemed high-risk using PennDOT crash data.

"They are all identified as high-incidence roadways for DUI-related crashes, so if you see law enforcement on a particular roadway, they're there because that is an unsafe road," Zortman said.

Local watering holes say they are doing their part to help out. At Granfalloon's in York, they say their top priority is making sure everyone gets home safely.

"That's our main concern when pretty much any one of these holidays comes up, is to make sure everyone stays safe, gets home alright," Shawn Benkert, a manager at the Irish pub, said. "Whether you have a friend drive home, Uber, taxi, there's lots of options tonight. We just want to make sure no one drives and everyone stays safe tonight."

Customers seemed to be heeding the warnings.

"You definitely don't want to see any tragedies, and I want to see everyone have a safe Friday night, a safe Saturday night and get home ready for brunch on Sunday," Kärr Mullen of York said.

The enhanced DUI enforcement will last through the weekend.