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8/30/2017: PennDOT, Police, Safety Partners Encourage Drug and Alcohol-Free Driving Over Labor Day Weekend

Downingtown, PA – PennDOT, the Chester County District Attorney, municipal police and AAA Mid-Atlantic held an event today at the Rite Aid Pharmacy in Downingtown Borough, Chester County to discourage alcohol and drug-impaired driving ahead of the Labor Day holiday as part of a national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign which runs through September 4.

“We have seen victims killed by drivers high on heroin. We have seen victims killed by drivers high on opioids. We have seen victims killed by drivers high on a mixture of prescription drugs and alcohol,” Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said. “No matter whether you are misusing street drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol while you are driving, you are still sitting in a steel missile that weighs a few thousand pounds and is potential death to anybody who crosses your path.”

As part of this high-visibility enforcement effort, Pennsylvania’s DUI Task Forces, the Pennsylvania State Police along with municipal police departments will conduct checkpoints and roving patrols to target drug and alcohol-impaired drivers. This effort is funded through PennDOT's statewide distribution of more than $4 million in federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The funds are used for police overtime, equipment and other associated costs.

According to PennDOT data, in 2016, there were 1,153 drug-related crashes resulting in 32 fatalities in the Philadelphia region which includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. Over the 2016 Labor Day holiday weekend alone, there were 106 drug-related crashes and two drug-related driving fatalities statewide.

Law Enforcement urges the public to read warning labels on prescription or over-the-counter medications and celebrate responsibly. Impaired drivers are incapable of safe driving operations regardless of the substance; illegal or legal.

Pennsylvania continues to enhance its drug-impaired enforcement by training officers in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement and the Drug Recognition Expert programs.

PennDOT encourages you to always plan ahead by designating a sober driver before you begin drinking or take prescription drugs.

Additional tips to ensure a safe holiday include:

  • Before taking prescription drugs, ask your doctor or pharmacist about potential risk for impairment;
  • Never leave a friend alone if they have had too much to drink and might try to drive; Take the keys from anyone who has had too much to drink or has taken an illegal substance;
  • For those without a sober designated driver, call for a cab, community sober ride program, ridesharing service or stay put;
  • Download the Safer Ride App for Android and Apple phones beforehand and use if it needed. It can help a user find a taxi or ridesharing service, call a friend or family member for assistance, and view of map of their current location; and
  • Always buckle up.

To learn more about PennDOT’s efforts to prevent impaired driving or find information on the department’s other safety initiatives, visit www.penndot.gov/safety.

Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 825 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

For more PennDOT information, visit www.penndot.gov. Follow local PennDOT information on Twitter at www.twitter.com/511PAPhilly, and follow the department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennsylvaniadepartmentoftransportation and Instagram at www.instagram.com/pennsylvaniadot.

MEDIA CONTACT: Brad Rudolph, 610-205-6800

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TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF CHESTER COUNTY
7 Great Valley Parkway, Suite 144 | Great Valley Corporate Center
Malvern, PA 19355
p: 610.993.0911 | f: 610.993.0922

 
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