Tamaqua Chief of Police Dave Mattson reminds local motorists that the unofficial start of the Summer kicks off this Memorial Day weekend with the Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence Association's announcement of a renewed initiative to enforce the Commonwealth's impaired driving laws. Municipal and state police throughout the state will be out in force over the holiday weekend with increased sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and other under-the-influence related enforcement initiatives to ensure the highways are safer by removing alcohol and drug impaired drivers.
"As families begin the summer travel season this weekend, we want to keep them safe from impaired drivers," said DUI Association Executive Director C. Stephen Erni. "Unfortunately, we are entering one of the deadliest times of the year on our highways. Approximately one third of fatal impaired driving related crashes occur in the months of May, June, July, August and September."
Last year, 419 Pennsylvanians lost their lives as the result of over impaired driving related crashes. During the 2011 Memorial Day weekend travel period,144 impaired driving crashes took the lives of 10 people.
One hundred and eight specially trained state and municipal Drug Recognition Expert officers will be working with law enforcement across the Commonwealth to evaluate drivers suspected of being under-the-influence of controlled substances. Since the implementation of the Drug Recognition Expert program in 2004, driving under the influence of controlled substance charges have grown exponentially each year. Last year alone, over 13,907 drugged driving charges were filed against impaired drivers in Pennsylvania. Over 50,000 DUI-related arrests were made in 2011.
"We have zero tolerance for impaired drivers," said Erni. "Every available officer will be out on the roadways in an effort to reach our goal of no traffic related fatalities." Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence Association was founded in 1979 to encourage and facilitate the growth of impaired driving safety programs in the commonwealth. The non-profit organization addresses the DUI problem in all of its many stages - from prevention to enforcement, up to and including, adjudication and rehabilitation.