PennDOT and police across Pennsylvania are partnering this Independence Day to crack down on impaired drivers on the roads, while the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is focusing their attention on the rivers.
PennDOT is conducting a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign now through July 7.
Erin Waters-Trasatt, spokeswoman for PennDOT, said the best way for drivers who have been drinking to stay safe is to have a designated driver.
“If Pennsylvanians are pulled over they can expect to be cited for driving under the influence,” Waters-Trasatt said, “and if they’re convicted you can see anywhere from a license suspension to fines of $500 to $5,000 — not to mention the fact that you could harm yourself or others by driving impaired.”
With the Fourth of July falling on a weekday, Waters-Trasatt believes many people will continue celebrating into the weekend, and increased enforcement is the best way to keep Pittsburgh streets safe.
“Unfortunately, a lot of the crashes and fatalities we see on Pennsylvania roadways are completely preventable,” Waters-Trasatt said, “and one of the largest issues that we see is that people are driving impaired by drugs or alcohol.”
According to “DUI in Pennsylvania,” there were a total of 51,402 people arrested and charged with driving under the influence in 2010; 5,758 were under 18. There were 433 DUI related fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2010; 51 were underage.
The PFBC is also looking for impaired boat and watercraft operators throughout the water recreation season, with Waterways Conservation Officers roaming the rivers and lakes for intoxicated drivers.
According to the Boating Safety Resource Center, a boat operator with a blood alcohol level of .10 is estimated to be 10 times more likely to die in a boating accident than a sober boat operator.
AAA estimates more than 4.76 million people will be traveling on the highways this Independence Day.