St. Patrick’s Day DUI Checkpoint Set for Rt. 611 in Warrington
The following is a message from Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub regarding a St. Patrick's Day DUI checkpoint scheduled for Warrington.
Erin Go Broke? Face it, festive leprechauns, DUIs are costly.
A drunken-driving conviction could easily cost you $10,000 by the time you finish paying for all the fines, lawyer fees, drug and alcohol classes, insurance rate increases, towing fees – and maybe an interlock device installed on your car for good measure. There goes your pot o’ gold.
The human cost of drinking and driving is even greater. More than 250 people died on U.S. roads during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2011-2015, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). An estimated 75 percent of all fatal St. Paddy’s Day crashes involve a driver who’s at least two times over the legal blood alcohol content limit.
To help keep you, your fellow drivers and the green in your wallet safe this St. Patrick’s Day, the Bucks County DUI Task Force will conduct a sobriety checkpoint Friday night into Saturday morning on Route 611 in Warrington.
From 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., drivers traveling in both directions on the thoroughfare will be stopped and observed for signs of impairment. Drivers who appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be subjected to field sobriety tests and possibly arrest.
The checkpoint will be staffed by 18 officers from Bensalem, Middletown, Newtown, Warminster and Warrington Townships; Newtown and Quakertown Boroughs; and the Pennridge Regional Police Department.
Last year, when St. Patrick’s Day fell on a weeknight, the task force conducted a DUI checkpoint in Newtown Township. Three hundred vehicles were contacted by police during that checkpoint, resulting in four DUI charges and one for drug possession.
Across Pennsylvania, there were 53 alcohol-related crashes on St. Patrick’s Day last year – and 1,210 crashes in which 13 people died on the weekends before and after the holiday, according to preliminary data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Having St. Patrick’s Day fall on a Friday this year is expected to only increase the risk of overindulgent drivers being on the road.
“St. Patrick’s Day has become a day to share good cheer with family and friends,” District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub said. “Remember: Have fun, but don’t drink or do drugs and drive. Be safe.”
Weintraub urged revelers to plan in advance for a designated driver, a ride from a relative or friend, a taxi or a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft.
The efforts of the task force – the oldest county-wide impaired driving enforcement program in Pennsylvania – are funded largely through a continuing federal safety grant administered through PennDOT.
For more than a decade, Impaired Driving Program grants have been provided through PennDOT and NHTSA, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania 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.
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