This article was published on The Daily Times News on December 29, 2016
HARRISBURG >> It was a tad too merry a Christmas for more than 300 state residents.
Pennsylvania State Police troopers report they arrested 314 people for driving under the influence during the four-day Christmas holiday from Dec. 23 through Dec.
26. Troopers were on the lookout for impaired drivers with high-visibility patrols and DUI checkpoints as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement campaign. The total of 314 arrests is a 44 percent increase from 2015, when PSP made 218 DUI arrests during the same four-day Christmas driving period.
State police investigated 661 crashes over the long holiday weekend, up from 632 crashes in 2015. Of the 661 collisions this year, 50 involved alcohol, 201 people were injured, and two people were killed. Neither of the fatal crashes was alcohol-related, police said. Last year four people were killed in auto accidents.
In addition to DUI enforcement, troopers issued 2,884 speeding citations, 218 seatbelt citations, and 74 child safety seat citations.
These statistics cover only those incidents investigated by state police and do not include statistics on incidents to which other law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania responded.
As Pennsylvanians make plans for New Year’s Eve celebrations, drivers are encouraged to download the SaferRide app. Developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the app provides a simple interface to call a taxi or a trusted friend for a ride if you have had too much to drink.
Law enforcement agencies, including the PSP, will continue to step up patrols throughout the holiday in an effort to reduce reckless and impaired driving. During the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel periods in 2015, 1,209 crashes statewide involved a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol, according to PennDOT data