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Police in Berks stepping up DUI enforcement for St. Patrick’s Day weekend

Police in Berks County are warning motorists of increased drunken-driving enforcement efforts this weekend that coincide with St. Patrick’s Day.

Officers will be increasing roving DUI patrols and setting up checkpoints to take impaired drivers off the roads during this period of known increased alcohol use, according to a release from Exeter Township police Sgt. David Bentz, who also is the Berks coordinator for the North Central Regional DUI Enforcement Program.

“Because St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, we anticipate that alcohol consumption will increase both on that day and throughout the weekend,” Bentz said in the release. “We ask everyone to celebrate responsibly. That should begin even before you go out to celebrate by deciding who will be your sober designated driver or whether you’ll be using a ride-sharing service or taxi.”

There were 272 lives lost nationwide in drunken-driving crashes over the holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18) between 2017 and 2021, according to the release. Though drunken-driving fatalities are more likely to occur at night, drunken driving puts people’s lives in danger at any time of the day. During that same period, there were 31 daytime drunken-driving fatalities, officials said.

“Not only is drunk driving illegal with serious financial consequences, but it is also deadly for the intoxicated driver and for other people on the road, including passengers, pedestrians and sober drivers,” Bentz said. “Don’t turn a day of fun and enjoyment into a tragic and devastating time by driving while intoxicated. Have a sober driver take you home or use a cab or ride-sharing service to get home safely,”

According to U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 13,384 people died in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021, accounting for 31% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. that year. That means someone died in a drunken driving crash every 39 minutes in 2021, officials said.

Police urge motorists to call 911 if they see a drunken driver.

Source: Berkshire mont

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