Harrisburg, Pennsylvania — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission hosted today a media event calling for a safe and responsible celebration this upcoming holiday weekend, and always.
“Independence Day is a time of celebration, but before heading out to these celebrations, we urge Pennsylvanians to keep safety in mind,” said Mike Keizer, PennDOT’s acting assistant secretary for the highway administration. “If your celebration includes alcohol, plan ahead by designating a sober driver or arranging alternate transportation. Never drive while impaired.
According to data from PennDOT, in 2021 there were 136 alcohol-related crashes from Friday July 2 through Monday July 5, resulting in six fatalities. Additionally, during the holiday season last year, there were 48 drug-related crashes, resulting in four deaths.
Fish and Boat Commission data shows there were 49 arrests for boating under the influence in 2021, down from 60 in 2020.
Pennsylvania is a destination state for boating, and boaters drive to and from their boating location. When an impaired boat operator drives home, a BUI becomes a DUI.
“Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and reaction time on the water and boating under the influence puts everyone at risk, including passengers and others enjoying the water,” Tim said. Schaeffer, executive director of the PA Fish and Boat Commission.
“Our goal is for boaters to have a safe and enjoyable time on the water. It starts with safe boating practices which include wearing a life jacket whenever they are on a boat and not drinking while boating,” he added.
During this holiday period, Pennsylvania State Police and local law enforcement will conduct checkpoints and roving patrols. This effort is funded by PennDOT’s annual statewide distribution of more than $4.7 million from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for impaired driving enforcement.
“The PSP and its local law enforcement partners have zero tolerance for impaired, aggressive and distracted driving, and speeding,” said PSP Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick. “Wherever you are traveling this holiday weekend, please slow down, buckle up and drive safely.”
The DCNR manages 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forest land that allow for recreational activities including boating and ATV riding. Pennsylvania ranks in the top 5 in the United States for ATV accidents, with many of these incidents involving alcohol, which is not permitted on public lands. DCNR encourages all visitors to practice safe behavior, follow recreation guidelines and comply with all posted safety signage.
“Driving ATVs is like driving a vehicle, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not permitted while riding an ATV,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “Whether you’re riding an ATV or cruising Penn’s Woods, safety is key when recreating on vacation and throughout the year. Many of the worst accidents in state parks and forests happen when people don’t follow the guidelines in place, which is why we encourage all visitors to practice safe behavior when visiting public lands.
If you have plans to travel this holiday weekend, “Know Before You Go” by reviewing the 511PA “Holiday Travel Restrictions” page. While PennDOT will remove lane restrictions and suspend construction projects where possible, the “Holiday Travel Restrictions” page allows the public to view interstate restrictions that will be in place during the holiday travel period. .
The public can check conditions on more than 40,000 miles of road in Pennsylvania by visiting www.511PA.com. The service, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to over 1,000 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available through a smartphone app for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.
To learn more about PennDOT’s efforts to prevent impaired driving or other safety initiatives, visit www.PennDOT.pa.gov/Safety.
For more information on the Pennsylvania State Police, visit psp.pa.gov.
For more information on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, visit fishandboat.com.
For more information on state parks and state forests, visit the DCNR website.
Jennifer Kuntch, PennDOT, 717-705-1551
Myles Snyder, PSP, 717-783-5556
Mike Parker, Fishing and Boat Commission, 717-705-7806
Wesley Robinson, DCNR, 717-877-6315
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