ugg boot slippers DUI arrests in state rise in ’08
“We’ve put a bigger focus on enforcement,” said Jack J. Lewis, state police press secretary. “We don’t think drinking and driving has risen. But it’s like with speeding. When we put more emphasis on the problem, the numbers of arrests go up.”
DUI arrests include motorists under the influence of drugs as well as alcohol.
In Lancaster County, state police DUI arrests in 2008 totaled an even 600; 441 by troopers operating out of the main barracks in Lancaster, and 159 by those out of Ephrata.
That is 35 percent higher than 2007, when 446 motorists were arrested in the county by state police.
Overall, Troop J, which has stations in Lancaster, Ephrata, Avondale and Embreeville, had 1,268 arrests,
up from 1,027 the year before. Statewide, Troop J ranked sixth among Pennsylvania’s 16 troops.
A statement released by state police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski said the increase in DUI arrests resulted from “using education, training and high levels of enforcement to target impaired drivers who pose a threat to themselves and other motorists.”
Lewis also pointed out that “DUI crashes and crash related fatalities are down.”
Alcohol or drug related crashes dropped from 4,807 in 2007 to 4,665 last year, while deaths from those accidents went from 165 to 150.
“While arrests were up 3 percent, crashes were down 3 percent,” Lewis said. “Fatalities from DUI related crashes are down 9 percent.”
The 4,665 accidents are the fewest since 2006, when 4,583 crashes were recorded.
Lewis also credits the rise in DUI arrests to such programs at Operation Nighthawk, which was begun in 2002.
In the program, troopers and municipal police officers undergo specialized classroom training on two consecutive days on methods of curbing drinking and driving. They then immediately conduct roving patrols to identify and stop motorists driving under the influence.