The New Year’s holiday is known as one of the times of year when motorists are most likely to drink and drive, and Pennsylvania State Police say they will be on the lookout for impaired drivers as 2018 winds down, particulary after DUI arrests made by Troop M over the Christmas enforcement period were nearly double the number recorded last year.
In a news release Thursday, Pennsylvania State Police at Bethlehem said a DUI checkpoint will be set up somewhere in Lehigh County or Northampton County sometime between midnight Saturday, Dec. 29 and midnight Tuesday, Jan. 1, which is the PSP’s New Year’s Holiday Enforcement period.
At the sobriety checkpoint, state troopers will “systematically stop vehicles…to briefly observe drivers for articulable facts and/or behaviors normally associated with alcohol or drug impaired drivers,” the news release said.
“The goal of a sobriety checkpoint is to reduce the number of alcohol and drug related fatal and serious crashes, and to reduce the number of intoxicated drivers on Pennsylvania’s highways,” state police added.
State police said that during the New Year’s Holiday Traffic Enforcement Period of 2017-2018, a year ago, officers from Troop M in Lehigh, Northampton and Bucks counties investigated a total of 62 crashes that resulted in 15 injuries and made a total of 28 DUI arrests. Eight crashes were determined to be alcohol-related, they said.
During Troop M’s recent Christmas Holiday Traffic Enforcement period–between Dec. 22 and Dec. 25–state police said they investigated a total of 39 crashes, two of which were determined to be alcohol-related. The total number of crashes during the same period in 2017 was significantly lower, with 26 accidents investigated, two of which were alcohol-related, per state police.
The number of DUI arrests was also up from last year during the Holiday Traffic Enforcement period, according to Troop M statistics shared Wednesday.
This year 23 motorists were arrested for DUI between Dec. 22 and Dec. 25, as opposed to last year, when 13 motorists were arrested for DUI during the same period.
“The Pennsylvania State Police Troop M urges travelers to ‘Think Before You Drink’ and be mindful of our continuing efforts to enforce the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s legal blood alcohol limit of .08 percent while operating a motor vehicle,” police said. “Anyone under the age of 21 who chooses to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system could suffer severe penalties.”
Motorists are also reminded to “steer clear” and slow down whenever they see flashing lights. “It’s the law,” police said.