LEWISBURG – PennDOT and its police, sheriff and other law enforcement safety partners are again urging safety and warning of crackdowns as St. Patrick’s Day weekend approaches in the Valley. In additional to reminding all motorists not to drink and drive, law enforcement says they will be cracking down on impaired driving this weekend.
Union County Chief Deputy Sheriff Scott Hahn, “We have ramped up patrols for the weekend. Buffalo Valley (Regional Police) will have some extra officers out, the Union County Sherriff’s office will have some extra officers out, Mifflinburg Police Department will, Shamokin Dam Police Department will, and I believe Snyder County Sherriff’s office will have extra officers out.”
Preliminary PennDOT data shows there were 33 alcohol-related crashes in PA during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday last year, resulting in one fatality. Deputy Hahn also says driving impaired doesn’t just necessarily mean alcohol, “Recently, I think just from the local police departments statistics I’ve looked at, I’d say probably three out of four have been impaired driving due to illegal drugs, prescription meds, and other such narcotics, and obviously mixing the two is even worse.”
Motorists are also reminded that drowsy-driving can be just as dangerous as impaired driving, especially being awake more than 18 hours. Mike Diehl is the Community Traffic Safety Coordinator for the Highway Safety Network.
He says anyone can download NHTSA’s free SaferRide app to find a ride home, “They can get that on their android deices, as well as Apple devices. This is an app that allows people to set up designated drivers in their phone, should they get into a situation where they need one.”
Diehl also says even walking home is dangerous, and you should have someone either drive or walk you home. PennDOT says overall, everyone should plan ahead before celebrating. The group made those announcements during a press conference Monday in Lewisburg.