LEWISTOWN - The Lewistown Police Department and Mifflin County Regional Police Department are increasing patrols for the July 4 holiday weekend as part of the Pennsylvania DUI Association's "Drive sober or get pulled over" campaign.
The Fourth of July holiday is a family filled holiday involving neighborhood picnics, community events, parades and a time to celebrate the United States. Often these celebrations and picnics involve alcohol consumption.
"We work every day toward saving lives and ultimately putting ourselves out of business," said C. Stephen Erni, executive director of the Pennsylvania DUI Association. "Celebrate our great country, but live to see the next Fourth of July by making sure you don't get behind the wheel or handlebars impaired."
Sentinel photo by LAUREN?KERSHNER
An MCRPD cruiser sits behind a vehicle pulled over for speeding in the construction zone near the Walnut Street exit along U.S. 322. Local police have plans to increase patrols for the upcoming holiday weekend.
Lewistown Police Department Chief William Herkert said more officers are scheduled to work to help keep residents of the borough safe.
"With more officers on duty, we can conduct more patrols," Herkert said.
MCRPD has similar plans, but Chief Scott Mauery said the department also will be on the lookout for other types of criminal activity.
"Our patrols that weekend will be more frequent to help combat DUI's, but we are also going to look for things that are out of the ordinary," Mauery said.
Throughout the state, the Pennsylvania DUI Association said law enforcement agencies will be out patrolling and conducting checkpoints at various times throughout the weekend to protect responsible drivers and their families so they can enjoy the holiday. Pennsylvania State Police Lewistown prepared a news release saying that checkpoints will be set up throughout Juniata County.
While driving under the influence is a problem all-year-round, during holiday seasons too many drivers ignore the warnings and the law, putting themselves and others sharing the road at risk of injury or death.
As a reminder, Pennsylvania's blood alcohol concentration limit is .08 percent, but drivers also need to remember they can be arrested if they are incapable of driving under the influence of drugs. Penalties can include loss of license, fines, court costs, education classes, towing, legal fees, ignition interlock, and even jail.
This Fourth of July weekend, remember these simple tips:
Plan a safe way home before leaving your activity involving consumption of alcohol and check with a pharmacist if a drug you are taking should be not combined with alcohol,
Before you take the first drink, designate a sober driver,
If you see a vehicle acting unusual on the road, contact your local law enforcement agency and take caution if you have to drive near them,
If a friend or family member is impaired, stop them from driving and make arrangements for them to get home safely.
Erni said while driving impaired may seem like a good idea at the time, no one wants to see their name in the paper under the local arrests.
"It is an embarrassment to you, your family and could cost you your job," Erni said.