No one should ever drink and drive. That warning has been taught for years in every high school and driver’s education class across the country.
Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over, a campaign run by the State Police and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has increased DUI enforcement efforts through Labor Day. However, this campaign isn’t meant to just deter those who may think about driving drunk. It’s also meant to stop a rise in another dangerous trend: those who take drugs and drive.
According to numbers from PennDOT, Total DUI arrests decreased from 52,216 in 2010 to 50,143 in 2011. In that same time frame, driving under the influence of drugs arrests rose from 11,808 to 13,907, an increase of 17.8 percent.
PennDOT spokesperson Erin Waters sees this rise in drug-related arrests twofold, including officers who are better trained to locate potential drug using drivers.
“Unfortunately, we also see a lot of new designer drugs coming on the market, or just increasing numbers of people driving under the influence of these substances,” said PennDOT spokesperson Erin Waters.
The legal blood-alcohol level in Pennsylvania is .08 for motorists over the age of 21, and driving under the influence of anything, be it drugs or alcohol, can result in jail time, license suspension, and fines. Those fines range from $500 to $5,000.
Waters said the state is working to train officers so they will be better able to detect potential drug using drivers.