Celebrate the Fourth, but don’t be a statistic
Carbon County’s District Attorney, Jean A. Engler, addressing the dangers of driving and boating under the influence.
Carbon County’s District Attorney Jean A. Engler addresses the dangers of driving and boating while under the influence of alcohol.
Officials prepare for a boat ride at Beltzville State Park following the news conference on drinking and boating or driving. Scan this picture to see a video taken at the lake. JESSICA KNAPP/TIMES NEWS
Waterways Conservation Officer, Scott Christman, addressing the dangers of driving and boating under the influence.
As people anxious to celebrate the Independence Day holiday take to Carbon County’s roads and waterways, officials are reminding everyone to not become a statistic.
A news conference was held Friday afternoon at Beltzville State Park to discuss the dangers of impaired driving and boating.
The conference included representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Highway Safety Network, the Carbon County District Attorney’s Office, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and local law enforcement agencies.
“Summer’s favorite holiday, the one which celebrates our nation’s birth, is also one of the deadliest on our nation’s and the commonwealth’s highways,” said Carbon County District Attorney Jean A. Engler.
“As we approach the Fourth of July, it is time to stop and take note of some attention-grabbing statistics.”
According to PennDOT data, last year in Pennsylvania alone there were 293 people who died in alcohol-related crashes.
Just last year in Carbon County, there were 322 alcohol-related crashes with 12 fatalities.
Engler concluded by reminding everyone that the potentially devastating results of both driving and boating under the influence are 100 percent preventable.
Following Engler, Waterways Conservation Officer Scott Christman discussed the nationwide campaign, Operation Dry Water.
The campaign is focused on spreading awareness and enforcement to decrease the amount of alcohol- and drug-related accidents and fatalities on the water.
Since 2009, Operation Dry Water removed 3,038 operators from the waterways and made contact with more than 1.1 million boaters during the holiday weekend.
Christman went into detail about some of the common misconceptions people have in regard to boating under the influence.
A DUI can occur on any type of watercraft, whether it be motorized or not.
Christman also spoke about how being out on the water can actually amplify the affects of alcohol.
One can of beer while out on the water has the same affect on a person that three cans of beer can have on land.
A combination of factors are to blame for this including boat movement, being in direct sunlight and loud engine noise.
“There’s no place for alcohol on the water,” said Christman.
Since impaired boating can often lead to impaired driving, being a responsible driver can mean the difference between life and death.
Operation Dry Water includes an increase in DUI patrols through July 4 both on and off the water.