The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), and Penn State Health Life Lion, today held a media event to urge responsibility, designated driving ahead of the Labor Day Holiday.
“As friends and families come together to enjoy the last big holiday of the summer, we ask everyone to celebrate responsibly and plan ahead to get home safely,” said Major James B. Basinger, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol. “Troopers have a zero-tolerance approach toward impaired driving, which is a serious, but completely preventable crime.”
During the 2017 Labor Day holiday enforcement period, troopers made 552 DUI arrests and investigated 90 crashes in which alcohol was a factor. According to PennDOT data, there were more than 3,100 total crashes statewide over the long holiday weekend; 314 of those were alcohol-related that resulted in 11 fatalities.
“Drunk and drugged driving risks the lives of not only drivers and their passengers, but also other motorists, pedestrians, and first responders,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “With the technology and resources available today, there is never an excuse to get behind the wheel while impaired.”
As part of the national impaired driving enforcement mobilization, which runs from August 15 through September 3, Pennsylvania’s DUI task forces, the Pennsylvania State Police, and local law enforcement statewide will also conduct checkpoints and roving patrols as part of the outreach effort.
Penalties for a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania are based on factors including an individual’s criminal history, blood alcohol content (BAC) level, and whether or not there were injuries or property damage occurred. Potential consequences include thousands of dollars in fines, a license suspension, and prison time.
“The smartest, safest thing you can do is get a designated driver or use a ride sharing service,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lubin, division chief, pre-Hospital and transport medicine at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. “You’d much rather be in one of those vehicles than one of ours.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed the SaferRide smartphone appOpens In A New Window as a tool to decrease impaired driving. The app can be used to quickly pinpoint the user’s location and call a taxi or trusted friend for a safe ride home. SaferRide is free and available for Android and Apple devices.