HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) – With Saint Patrick’s Day coming up, authorities in Pennsylvania are taking extra steps to keep impaired and aggressive drivers off the road.

“Especially on Friday, St. Patrick’s Day itself to put out a special detail, a DUI detail,” said
Sgt. Brian Robison, with the Hermitage Police Department, who also serves on Mercer and Lawrence counties’ DUI Task Force.

The state’s holiday enforcement period began last Friday and runs through this Sunday. PennDOT, the Pennsylvania DUI Association and local police are working together to spread the word.

“We know there are going to be celebrations, which is fine, but just think ahead. If you are going to drink, plan for another driver, a sober driver to take you home,” said Saxon Daughtery, a spokesperson for PennDOT.

According to Penn DOT, in 2021, the most recent year with final statistics, Mercer County recorded 133 impaired crashes over the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday period. Lawrence County had 76.

Experts with the DUI Association say at 60% of drivers take some sort of medication, and many of those don’t work well with alcohol.

“We’re seeing a sharp increase in poly-drug use. That’s a combination of alcohol and other types of drugs, even if they are prescription,” said Cathy Tress, a spokesperson for the DUI Association.

Although police in Pennsylvania don’t often stage DUI checkpoints in colder months, they’re using roving saturation patrols to spot suspected impaired drivers, giving them sobriety tests.

“There are a lot of things we look for as far as driving habits, whether it be simple improper turns, it could be weaving, it could be slow speeds, it could be higher speeds,” Robison said.

Either way, it could mean seeing more law enforcement in your rearview mirror this weekend.