Labor Day Enforcement for Impaired Driving
August 16 to September 7, 2015
The Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence Association, (PA DUI Assn), announces and supports police across the Commonwealth conducting aggressive impaired driving enforcement for the National Labor Day Crackdown “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
Law Enforcement from all jurisdictions which includes more than 50 DUI Task Forces across Pennsylvania will patrol and conduct enforcement events by either stationary checkpoints or roving patrols. The National Crackdown begins on August 16 and will continue through the Labor Day weekend.
Particular focus will be on drivers under the influence of drugs, regardless if they are prescription or over the counter. If a driver is impaired, they are incapable of safe driving regardless of what they consumed.
“The goal is to save lives and to get drivers to understand that operating a motor vehicle is serious business; too many drivers after a while become complacent, both young and older drivers,” said C. Stephen Erni, Executive Director of the PA DUI Association. “Most drivers today understand that drinking alcohol and operating a vehicle don’t mix and they can be involved in a crash or arrested, but we have more work to do when it comes to getting them to understand that some prescription medicines or even over the counter medicines can cause a driver to be impaired to the point they are incapable of safely driving,” he added.
Pennsylvania started recognizing DUI crashes were not exclusive to alcohol consumption approximately ten years ago when they joined a handful of other states that started training drug recognition experts or DRE’s to combat the growing problem of drugged drivers. The Drug Recognition Classification Program was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and approved by the International Police Chief’s Association. Currently there are 150 trained Drug Recognition Experts in the Commonwealth, including state police and municipal officers. Only a sworn, active police officer can become and practice as a DRE. Additionally, The PA DUI Association and partners train officers in A.R.I.D.E; an advanced roadside impaired driving 2-day course to identify signs of drugs versus alcohol when a driver is suspected of being impaired.
In 2014, statewide there were 4694 Drugged, (legal and illegal) Driving crashes in Pennsylvania. The most frequent drug used by drivers as determined by a DRE is marijuana, and later confirmed by a blood test. Statewide, DRE’s were called out by other officers to evaluate a suspected impaired driver 1, 377 times for possible drugged driving and other than alcohol consumption by 132 DRE’s currently active in 2014. A total of 52,636 DUI arrests occurred that same year with 20,691 of that total charged with 3802 (d) of the DUI Law or Drugged driving.
The Labor Day holiday period represents the last of the summer parties or picnics and signals the start of the new school or college year. Many drivers on the road are squeezing in last minute weekend getaways. It’s a time where drivers need to be at top performance to handle sudden incidents that occur when driving on any road or any distance whether it’s too the corner store only a few blocks away or much further.