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PennDOT, Safety Partners Team Up to Combat ‘Blackout Wednesday’ Impaired Driving


Pittsburgh, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), along with members of the Allegheny County Safety Partners, today highlighted the importance of sober driving throughout the holiday season, especially the day before Thanksgiving, also known as "Blackout Wednesday."

"Blackout Wednesday," one of the largest drinking days of the year, kicks off the Holiday Season Impaired Driving Campaign, which runs through January 2, 2024. During this time, the southwest region of PennDOT and their safety partners will work together to deliver lifesaving messages to the public to encourage positive actions that can help reduce impaired driving in Pennsylvania.

At the event, PennDOT District 11 shared information regarding how to celebrate the holidays responsibly and make good decisions that will save lives. PennDOT also encouraged drivers to plan ahead if impairment becomes part of the holiday festivities and reminded motorists that impaired driving crashes are 100% preventable.

Law enforcement from the Port Authority of Allegheny County and Allegheny County police departments discussed alternate modes of transportation and how to properly utilize them. They also discussed having a designated walker to assist in travel, and fines related to driving impaired.

The Pennsylvania DUI Association and Allegheny County Pretrial Services reminded everyone to recognize how drugs, even prescribed medications, along with alcohol, impact their ability to drive safely. Someone is considered alcohol-impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Additionally, drugs can mimic the same inebriation symptoms as someone with a .08 BAC, or sometimes worse.

According to PennDOT data, from the day before Thanksgiving 2022 to January 2, 2023 there were 1,396 crashes in Allegheny County, resulting in 12 fatalities. Of those crashes, 173 were impaired driver related, resulting in five fatalities.

Collectively the agencies are urging the public to be smart and safe this holiday season, by planning ahead and never getting behind the wheel impaired.

The Allegheny County Safety Partners consist of the AAA East Central, Allegheny County Health Department, Allegheny County Police Department, Allegheny County Pretrial Services, Allegheny County Sheriff Department, Children's Hospital Injury Prevention, City of Pittsburgh Police Department, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania DUI Association, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project, and Port Authority of Allegheny County Police Department.

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