The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania DUI Association held an event today at the Bucks County Public Safety Training Center to outline regional impaired driving safety efforts during “Operation Safe Holiday,” a statewide campaign to promote safe transportation practices throughout the holiday season.
“Death and injuries caused by impaired drivers are 100 percent preventable. The importance of not getting behind the wheel when impaired cannot be stressed enough. We want people to go out and have a good time, but we also want people to be responsible,” said Leo Hegarty, Regional DUI Program Administrator of the Pennsylvania DUI Association. “Please make the conscious decision not to drive while impaired.”
According to PennDOT data, in the Philadelphia region, during the 2020 holiday travel period beginning the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and running through January 2, 2021, there were 226 impaired driving crashes, resulting in seven fatalities. The tragedy of these deaths is felt year-round, but most strongly during the holidays for many.
PennDOT encourages people to plan before heading out for holiday festivities by doing the following:
- Plan a safe and sober ride home ahead of time.
- If you’re hosting a gathering, make sure all your guests have a sober ride home.
- If you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, do not drive.
- If you know someone who is impaired, take their keys and don’t let them get behind the wheel.
- Call 911 if you see an impaired driver.
- Always wear your seat belt – it’s your best defense against impaired drivers.
- Remember traffic could be increased because of the holidays. Stay calm, slow down and watch for pedestrians always.
The Pennsylvania State Police and hundreds of municipal police departments statewide will participate in the “Operation Safe Holiday” campaign this year to increase traffic safety enforcement through the New Year’s holiday. “This holiday season, more people will be out, and it’s important to remember it’s up to each one of us to keep the roads safe,” said Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Jessica Tobin. “Police will do their part to keep Pennsylvania safe by holding people accountable, and we want everyone who may be driving for the holiday to do their part by obeying all traffic laws, so everyone gets to their destination unharmed.”
Drivers are also reminded to obey Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law, which requires drivers to move over or slow down when they encounter an emergency scene, traffic stop, or disabled vehicle. The goal of the Move Over Law is to protect law enforcement, emergency medical providers, and other first responders when responding to crashes.