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Monday, August 23, 2010

PennDOT and State, Local Police Target Impaired Drivers in Crackdown

PennDOT and State, Local Police Target Impaired Drivers in Crackdown
Repeat DUI Offenders Warned About Ignition Interlock Requirement

Harrisburg – More than 600 municipal police departments and Pennsylvania State Police will target impaired drivers during the national impaired driving campaign, which starts Aug. 20 and continues through Labor Day.

“With Labor Day fast approaching, we know that many people will be taking one last opportunity to celebrate summer,” said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. “If you decide to drink, please designate a sober driver or make other arrangements for a safe ride home. That way, everyone using the roads can stay safe and you can avoid the serious consequences of a DUI arrest.”

According to PennDOT, statewide there were more than 450 alcohol-related crashes and 16 fatalities on the weekends surrounding the Labor Day holiday last year.

“DUI enforcement is one of our top priorities,” said State Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski. “Taking impaired drivers off the road prevents crashes and saves lives.”

PennDOT reminds motorists that DUI convictions carry strong penalties that include fines, jail time and license suspension.

Repeat offenders also are required to equip their vehicles with ignition interlock systems after serving a one-year license suspension. Ignition interlock requires drivers to blow into the device in order to start the vehicle. If the device detects alcohol, it prevents the vehicle from starting. The device also tests drivers at random times during the subsequent operation of the vehicle.

Individuals are required to pay all program-related costs, which include installation, routine monitoring and maintenance of the interlock device at a service center. These costs average approximately $1,000.

More than 5,700 Pennsylvania drivers currently have ignition interlock systems. Last year, these systems prevented more than 47,000 impaired driving attempts and logged more than 45-million sober miles driven.

More information on ignition interlocks and impaired driving is available online at

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