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DUI Crackdowns Set for Holidays

PennDOT is reminding people not to get behind the wheel impaired this holiday season. In 2010, there were more than 12,000 DUI crashes and over 52,000 arrests in Pennsylvania.

Steve Cowan, Safety Press Officer for PennDOT District 11 (including Allegheny, Beaver, and Lawrence Counties), said police will be out looking for drunk drivers now through New Year's Day.

"Allegheny County has six DUI task forces that will be conducting roving patrols to make sure that impaired drivers are not on our roadways," said Cowan. "Pennsylvania has invested over four million dollars to combat this impaired driving. They give this money to these local task forces and the Pennsylvania State Police."

The money comes in federal grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is used throughout the year.

Cowan said that education has played a part in reducing the number of DUIs. Since 2007, DUI-related crashes in Pennsylvania decreased by 441 and DUI-related deaths dropped by 86. The number of impaired driving deaths in Allegheny County also dropped from 35 in 2007 to 15 in 2010. During last year's Christmas and New Year's holidays, there were 641 alcohol-related and 25 fatalities statewide.

He said that the Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence Association has played a big part in educating residents. The Association sponsors a Memorial Garden in Harrisburg "that is for victims who were involved in DUI crashes, their lives lost needlessly through no fault of their own," said Cowan. "And the Association has put together this DUI victim's memorial trailer which is capable of going anywhere in Pennsylvania, and inside there is over 1,000 names on a wall of these victims. There's also televisions where there's another 1,800 names scrolled through on a regular basis."