Officials: ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’

A consortium of state agencies and organizations want to help keep people safe over the Labor Day holiday.

PennDOT, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Philadelphia Police Department, the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, AAA Mid-Atlantic, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) held a new conference on Thursday, Sept. 1, at the U.S. Coast Guard facility in Philadelphia, to highlight enforcement efforts for the 2016 Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which runs through Sept. 5.

Law enforcement discussed plans to conduct checkpoints and roving patrols as part of the high-visibility holiday mobilization and demonstrated a mock BUI (boating under the influence) arrest to highlight the dangers of impaired boating. It is illegal to operate a watercraft on all the waters of the Commonwealth while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, a PennDOT press release said.

As part of this high-visibility impaired-driving enforcement effort, Pennsylvania State Police and local law enforcement will conduct checkpoints and roving patrols. This effort is funded through PennDOT's statewide distribution of more than $4.7 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, 315 alcohol-related crashes with 13 fatalities and 106 drug-related crashes with five fatalities occurred on state highways during last year's Labor Day holiday time period.

PennDOT urges the public to take steps to help keep impaired drivers off the roads. Some safety tips include making sure all guests have designated a sober driver before any drinking starts; never leaving a friend alone if they have had too much to drink and might try to drive; and taking the keys from anyone who has had too much to drink. In addition, PennDOT recommends downloading the Safer Ride App for Android and Apple phones beforehand. It can help a user find a taxi or ride-sharing service.

Visit www.penndot.gov/safety for more information on impaired driving and PennDOT's other traffic-safety initiatives.

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