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Mario Andretti Never Drove Buzzed; Neither Should You! A Bucks County DUI Patrol Will Be on the Watch This Weekend

May 24, 2016


Officers from eight local departments will patrol Routes 309, 313, 663 in Quakertown area


 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Contact: Matthew Weintraub, 215.340.8159, mdweintraub@buckscounty.org

As this weekend’s Indy 500 drivers know, sharp reflexes are critical to survival behind the wheel.

And what area drivers should know is that anyone choosing to dull those reflexes with drugs or alcohol this weekend is apt to find a cop waiting to take his or her keys – and freedom – away.

From 10 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday, a roving team of police officers from eight Bucks County departments will be watching closely for impaired drivers in the Quakertown area.

At least 11 officers from those departments will be patrolling Route 309 from Hilltown Township to Springfield Township; Route 313 from Quakertown to Route 113; and Route 663 from Quakertown to the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Feeder roads to those main arteries will also be part of this detail.

As the carefree warmer months begin, trips to the Shore, cookouts, graduation parties and vacations are on the increase, and with them comes more driving and added risk. About 400 Americans die on the roads during a typical Memorial Day weekend, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More than two in every five of those fatalities are alcohol-related.

This year, the risks appear to be even greater than normal. Officials at AAA are forecasting the highest level of holiday travel in 11 years, thanks to cheaper gas and an improving economy.  The National Safety Council is predicting that this could be the deadliest Memorial Day weekend since 2009, when 462 people died on the nation’s roads.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s most recent statistics show that in 2014, there were 123 crashes and seven deaths statewide during the Memorial Day weekend. Overall, 13 percent of all holiday crashes in 2014 in Pennsylvania involved alcohol use, yet those crashes accounted for 41 percent of all holiday traffic deaths.

And while Bucks County’s fatalities are declining, it was one of six Pennsylvania counties having at least 12 alcohol-related traffic deaths in 2014, PennDOT reported. Fourteen people died in alcohol-related crashes in Bucks County that year – down from a five-year high of 26 in 2012.

The upcoming Memorial Day Weekend patrol marks the fourth in a yearlong series of enforcement actions undertaken by a countywide DUI task force. Departments providing officers for this detail include Bedminster, Bensalem, Doylestown, Solebury, Tinicum and Warrington Townships, and Penndel and Quakertown Boroughs.

The task force has conducted roving DUI patrols on Thanksgiving Eve and New Year’s Eve, and conducted a DUI checkpoint in Newtown Township on St. Patrick’s Day. Three hundred vehicles were contacted by police during the St. Patrick’s Day checkpoint, resulting in four DUI charges and one for drug possession.

“The Bucks County DUI Task Force has been successfully targeting impaired drivers throughout the county on major holidays since Thanksgiving,” said Matthew Weintraub, Chief of Prosecution for the District Attorney’s Office. “I hope that people continue to hear our message of deterrence as they celebrate the unofficial start of summer this weekend. Please have fun, but be safe. Don’t drink and drive.”

The efforts of the Bucks County task force are funded largely through a continuing federal safety grant administered through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Because impaired driving is a year-round concern, the task force plans additional roving DUI patrols and checkpoints later this year. These will be announced as the dates approach.

Bucks County is proud to host the oldest and largest countywide impaired-driving enforcement program in Pennsylvania. For more than a decade, Impaired Driving Program grants have been provided through PennDOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in cooperation with the PA DUI Association. The grants help pay for salary reimbursement for officers who participate in the program, as well as for equipment used in DUI enforcement.

Approved for release by Matthew Weintraub, Chief of Prosecution.

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Office of the District Attorney
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