With the 4th of July holiday fast approaching, Americans across the country will be celebrating in the traditional fashion, complete with many of the holiday’s traditional activities. Pennsylvania Police, along with the State Department of Transportation (PennDOT), are hoping that two of those activities won’t be done together: drinking and driving. As stated by State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan, “motorists must understand that alcohol and driving never mix. Don’t get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you’ve been drinking, even if you plan to only drive a short distance.” Indeed, with so many Pennsylvanians traveling for the holiday, and with alcohol often a large part of the day’s festivities, 4th of July is an especially dangerous time in regards to driving under the influence. Fortunately, Pennsylvania law enforcement is responding in kind with the newly introduced “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” initiative.
The initiative, which runs through July 8th, is part of a larger, national program sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association in an effort to decrease the nearly 11,000 deaths that result from drunk driving in America each year. In addition to increasing awareness and knowledge regarding drunk driving, the program places extra police on the streets during times of special risk, such as New Year’s and the week surrounding 4th of July. The Pennsylvania DUI Taskforce and State Police, along with local law enforcement, will conduct checkpoints and increased patrols in the coming week in hopes of decreasing the 146 alcohol-related crashes that occurred around the holiday last year. In Pennsylvania alone, six people were killed in these crashes, part of the 425 drunk driving related deaths across the state in 2011. PennDOT and Pennsylvania Police hope that many arrests will not be necessary, but as the initiative’s slogan states “they’ll see you before you see them.”