PennDOT, Police Focused on Reducing Impaired Driving Crashes through Labor Day
HARRISBURG, PA -- Aug. 27, 2014: As part of the national enforcement initiative, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," PennDOT, state police and municipal police are focusing their efforts on reducing alcohol-and drug-related crashes through Labor Day.
"Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is unsafe and it's against the law," PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. "Although alcohol-related crashes have gradually decreased, drugged-driving crashes and fatalities continue to increase. Both remain our focus though Labor Day and beyond."
PennDOT statistics for 2012 show there were 3,306 drug-related crashes statewide, with 126 fatalities in those crashes. In 2013, there were 3,267 drug-related crashes statewide with 143 fatalities.
The same data also shows that alcohol-related crashes decreased from 11,956 in 2012 to 11,023 in 2013. Fatalities in those crashes decreased from 404 in 2012 to 369 in 2013.
During last year's Labor Day weekend, there were 150 alcohol-related crashes and two fatalities as well as 47 drug-related crashes and seven fatalities.
Statewide police statistics show that there were 54,121 driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in 2013, a decrease from 56,317 in 2012. DUI-drug arrests continue to account for a larger percentage of these arrests, with 18,987 such arrests in 2013, an increase from 17,064 in 2012.
The legal blood-alcohol content in Pennsylvania is 0.08 for motorists over the age of 21. Driving under the influence penalties can include jail time, license suspension and fines of between $500 and $5,000.
Pennsylvania's DUI Task Forces, the Pennsylvania State Police and local law enforcement statewide will conduct checkpoints and roving patrols as part of the crackdown.
Funding comes from part of PennDOT's statewide distribution of $4.2 million in federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.