Pre-Labor Day 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' starts
- Traffic Safety: DUI checkpoints and patrols are planned each weekend now through Labor Day.
- Of 345 DUI-related deaths in the state in 2015, 15 took place in York County, Center for Traffic Safety Director Barbara Zortman said.
Now through Sept. 5, law enforcement in Adams, Lancaster and York counties are conducting sobriety checkpoints and roving DUI patrols as part of an enforcement campaign to crack down on drunk driving over Labor Day.
The campaign is called "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" and will consist of checkpoints and patrols in undisclosed locations between 6 p.m. on Fridays and 6 p.m. on Mondays through the end of the holiday weekend.
Director of the Center for Traffic Safety Barb Zortman suggests drivers who intend to drink, plan ahead and either designate a sober driver or call a cab.
"In the state of Pennsylvania, in 2015, there were 10,558 DUI-related crashes. Of those, 345 were DUI-related fatalities," Zortman said. "In York County, out of the 10,000 crashes, 422 of them were in York County."
Fifteen of the York County wrecks proved fatal. And a more sobering fact might be that of the 345 deaths that occurred, 43 were passengers, Zortman said.
"That means 43 people were killed in a vehicle with an intoxicated driver, they decided to get in a car with someone behind the wheel who was impaired," she said.
The Center for Traffic Safety would like to see zero fatalities on the road, from intoxicated driving or otherwise, Zortman said. Because, although 15 out of 345 might seem like a low number, that means 15 families lost a loved one, she said.
Zortman said the roads on which the checkpoints and roving patrols would be conducted are not going to be selected at random but have a history of a high volume of DUI-related incidents. She also mentioned that "intoxicated" does not necessarily refer to alcohol but can include prescription and illegal drug use also.
"People don't always read those warning labels. You know, these days there is a drug for everything, but a lot of them say you are not supposed to drive or operate machinery," she said.
For anyone planning a party or starting their Labor Day celebrations ahead of time, consider serving alternatives to alcohol for people to choose so a designated driver has a beverage option other than alcohol. And think about cutting off the alcohol by a certain time.
"Coffee doesn't sober you up, only time does," she said.
— Reach John Joyce firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JohnJoyceYD.