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PennDOT, Safety Partners Urge Designated Driving Over Saint Patrick’s Day Weekend


Clearfield, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Penn Highlands Healthcare DuBois Campus, the Highway Safety Network (HSN), the Pennsylvania DUI Association, and the DuBois City Police today urged motorists to not drive under the influence and encouraged everyone to choose a designated driver ahead of Saint Patrick's Day festivities this weekend.

"Motor vehicle crashes are the second most common mechanism of injury throughout the Penn Highlands Healthcare network, and impaired driver crashes increased by more than 1,400 statewide in 2021," said Holly Hertlein, RN with Penn Highlands DuBois. "If partnering with PennDOT, HSN, and the DUI Association on a program like today's helps us prevent even one of these crashes, then we are grateful for that opportunity to make a difference."

At the event, the safety partners invited Penn Highlands employees and patients to enjoy a mocktail beverage recipe, operate the impaired driving simulator, and complete activities while wearing Drunk Busters alcohol and drug impairment simulation goggles. DuBois City Police officers conducted mock standardized field sobriety tests with the participants.

The partners held this program in observance of the ongoing Saint Patrick's Day Impaired Driving Enforcement Campaign. Pennsylvania State Police and municipal police departments statewide conduct high visibility enforcement details such as roving patrols and sobriety checkpoints throughout the campaign, which started Friday, March 10, and concludes Sunday, March 19, according to Josh Woods, Community Traffic Safety Project Coordinator with HSN. He said officers offer zero tolerance to impaired drivers encountered during these enforcement details and that offenders will be arrested and prosecuted.

Cathy Tress, Pennsylvania DUI Association Regional Program Administrator, explained that while alcohol-related fatalities account for nearly 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania, impaired driving enforcement covers more than just alcohol impairment. She said Pennsylvania continues to enhance its drug-impaired enforcement by training officers in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) programs. Tress said the DUI Association offers these courses to officers statewide to train them to recognize when an individual has been driving under the influence of drugs and to identify the type of drug causing impairment.

According to preliminary PennDOT 2022 data, there were 313 crashes involving an impaired driver in Pennsylvania between Friday, March 11, and 6:00 AM Sunday, March 20. There were four fatalities in those crashes.

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Contact: Timothy Nebgen, or 814-765-0598

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