LEWISTOWN – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Highway Safety Network, Pennsylvania State Police and Geisinger Medical Center encourages everyone to celebrate responsibly by selecting a designated driver ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.
The safety partners offered motorists this and other responsible party hosting tips at a mocktail party held recently in Geisinger Lewistown Hospital’s fourth-floor lobby.
“Geisinger Lewistown Hospital was honored to host this event,” said Deb Erdman, injury prevention coordinator for trauma at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.
“We value the partnership with PennDOT and teamwork with Geisinger Hospitals throughout the region. Events like this are valuable reminders for us all in the community to keep everyone safe.”
At the event, hospital employees and patients were invited to enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage recipe, operate the impaired driving simulator and complete activities while wearing impairment simulation goggles.
Participants were also encouraged to join the conversation online by sharing a safety selfie from the event using #CelebrateSafe.
Corporal Scott Davis, Drug Enforcement Classification Program and DUI Enforcement Program coordinator, spoke of the Independence Day Impaired Driving Mobilization which runs through Sunday, July 7.
He explained that Drug Recognition Experts, police officers who are trained to recognize drivers under the influence of drugs, will be out in force during the mobilization.
PennDOT distributed Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) literature on the legal ramifications of DUI, alcohol impairment charts and non-alcoholic beverage recipes at the event.
PennDOT encourages everyone to always plan ahead by designating a sober driver or arrange for alternate transportation. Download the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s SaferRide smartphone app, available on Google Play for Android devices and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices. SaferRide allows users to call a ride service or a predetermined friend and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.
According to PennDOT 2018 data, there were 44 people killed in crashes between 6 p.m. Friday, June 29, and Sunday, July 8. Eight of those fatalities were the result of drug-related crashes and 17 were the result of alcohol-related crashes.
As Pennsylvania is a popular destination for boating, PennDOT also stressed the dangers of boating under the influence.
“Many residents and travelers from out of state will celebrate the holiday by taking advantage of Pennsylvania’s vast network of rivers, streams and lakes,” said Karen Michael, District Executive for PennDOT.
“We want to remind them that BUI can be just as deadly as DUI and encourage them to make safe, responsible choices.”
According to PLCB, more than 650 people die in boating accidents annually, and alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in those fatalities.
The legal penalties for BUI consist of fines ranging from $300 to $10,000, up to five years imprisonment and suspension of boating privileges for a year.
Watercraft operators may also be convicted with a blood alcohol concentration lower than .08 if they are deemed incapable of safely operating or being in actual physical control of the movement of the watercraft.
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