HARRISBURG, Pa. — As cities gear up for the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, state police and a number of organizations are cracking down on drunk driving.
According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, drinking and driving is one of the main top issues, and alcohol-related crashes have been on the rise. In 2021, data showed that alcohol-related crashes increased from 7,700 to 9,220.
Trooper Grothey, public information officer with Troop J of the Pennsylvania State Police, said that their number one priority is to ensure the safety of the public.
With the St. Patrick’s Day weekend approaching, Grothey said they want to make sure everyone gets home safely.
“The state police will have DUI checkpoints on throughout the weekend, and we will have extra troopers out on the roads, specifically in the evening hours typically when most of the drunk driving does occur,” said Grothey.
Some safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Administration include:
- Never drink and drive.
- Don't let someone get behind the wheel if that person has been drinking.
- If you're hosting a gathering, make sure everyone has a sober ride home.
- Call 911 if you see a drunk driver.
- Always wear your seat belt. It's your best defense against impaired drivers.
Grothey told FOX43 news that on a typical weekend, drunk driving starts after 5 p.m.
Due to parades and St. Patrick's Day celebrations starting in the morning, there will be patrol units throughout the day.
The consequences for driving under the influence can not only result in injuries but also a hefty fine of up to $10,000 in legal fees and penalties.
“If you happen to get pulled over and get a DUI, the consequences will be probably a misdemeanor charge, you lose your license for a while, you’re going to have to go through programs the DUI Association puts together... you’ll be looking at fines and legal fees as well,” said Grothey.
A campaign, created in a partnership between Anheuser-Busch, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Uber, is a campaign to end drunk driving. A $15 voucher can be obtained by those who would like to use the ridesharing app.
Once you scan the QR code, the vouchers are good to pick up or drop off within Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York Counties through the St. Patrick's Day weekend (March 17-19).