PennDOT, Safety Partners Urge Sober, Safe Driving Ahead of St. Patrick’s Day

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and its safety partners are reminding motorists of the dangers of impaired and aggressive driving ahead of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Representatives from PennDOT, the Pennsylvania DUI Association, and numerous municipal law enforcement agencies hosted a media event today at the Interstate 80 East Welcome Center in Mercer County to urge motorists to always drive safely and sober.

The joint event was planned in connection with the statewide St. Patrick’s Day impaired driving enforcement period, which runs from Friday, March 10, 2023, through Sunday, March 19, 2023, and the upcoming aggressive driving enforcement wave stretching from March 20, 2023, to April 23, 2023. During these campaigns, law enforcement agencies throughout the state actively participate in enforcement activities geared at deterring impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel and to discourage aggressive driving behaviors.

According to preliminary PennDOT data, during the 2022 St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend from March 11, 2022, through 6:00 AM March 20, 2022, there were 313 crashes statewide involving an impaired driver, resulting in four fatalities.

“It will take a collective effort from Pennsylvanians to keep our roadways free of impaired drivers. The solution is simple – plan ahead and designate a sober driver anytime you are going to consume alcohol,” said Cathy Tress, a Regional DUI Program Administrator for the Pennsylvania DUI Association. “Everyone should also be fully aware of any drug, legal or illegal, that can impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely and ultimately put your life and the lives of others at risk.”

Some effects of drug and alcohol use on driving include:

  • Alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs can impair the ability to drive because they slow coordination, judgment, and reaction times.
  • Cocaine and methamphetamine can make drivers more aggressive and reckless.
  • Using two or more drugs at the same time, including alcohol, can amplify the impairing effects of each drug a person has consumed.
  • Some prescription and over-the-counter medicinesOpens In A New Window can cause extreme drowsiness, dizziness, and other side effects. Read and follow all warning labels before driving and note that warnings against “operating heavy machinery” include driving a vehicle.