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PennDOT, PFBC, and AAA Remind Motorists and Boaters to Drive Sober and Be Safe this Independence Day

07/01/2020

King of Prussia, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) joined the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) and AAA Mid-Atlantic at the Grays Ferry Crescent Esplanade along the Schuylkill Banks in Philadelphia today to promote driving and boating safety for the Independence Day holiday.

Traffic volumes are expected to increase for the July 4th weekend since the surrounding Philadelphia counties are now in the green phase of Pennsylvania’s phased reopening. PennDOT is reminding motorists to celebrate responsibly and never drive impaired. 
According to PennDOT data, from June 28, 2019 through July 7, 2019 there were 2,917 crashes, resulting in 40 fatalities statewide. Of those crashes, 334 involved impaired driving, resulting in 18 fatalities. Impaired driving crashes are 100 percent preventable. Never drive impaired, take the keys away from a friend or loved one who is impaired to prevent them from driving, designate a sober driver or use a ride share app, slow down, and always buckle up.

“We know everyone is excited to get out more for July 4th, now that we are in the green phase, but motorists must be responsible and never drive impaired, said Robyn Briggs, PennDOT District 6 Safety Press Officer. “Covid-19 is still here and hospitals do not need added strain due to preventable vehicle crashes.”

From July 3 through July 5, PFBC waterways conservation officers (WCO) will participate in Operation Dry Water, a nationally organized effort to conduct enhanced boating under the influence (BUI) enforcement. WCOs are trained to detect signs of impaired boating and conduct sobriety tests on the water. The public is reminded that the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle or any watercraft, powered or unpowered, is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration. Boaters are reminded to wear a life jacket, have a float plan, avoid summer storms that can cause treacherous fast and high-water conditions, designate a sober boater, and consider having no alcohol while aboard a boat, since intoxicated passengers are also at risk of injury and falls overboard.

“The water is a great place to spend the holiday weekend, and every boating adventure should include some basic safety steps,” said Tim Schaeffer, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director. “Year after year, statistics prove that we could prevent the majority of fatal boating accidents if every boater would wear a life jacket and stay sober.”

This summer, AAA forecasts Americans will take 700 million trips based on economic indicators and state re-openings, down 15% from last summer, with road trips accounting for 97% of all vacations.

“Many people will decide to get out and explore this summer to relieve cabin fever,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager, Public and Government Affairs, AAA Mid-Atlantic. “When venturing out, travelers should heed all rules of the road, including never drinking and driving.  Impaired driving is 100% preventable.  If you consume alcohol, marijuana, or use potentially impairing prescription medications, then don’t drive.  And if you’re going to drive, then don’t consume these substances.”

Covid-19 has brought extra cautions for transportation safety. PennDOT recommends these guidelines if you are traveling outside of your home this summer and holiday weekend:

  • If you need to use a ride share app, or public transportation, check the company’s website for the latest protocols; 
  • Keep a mask and hand sanitizer in your vehicle;
  • If you are not feeling well, stay home; and 
  • When outside walking, biking, or boating, be mindful to stay six feet apart from others not in your household and wear a mask to protect each other when social distancing is not possible.
 To learn more about impaired driving/boating and other PennDOT safety initiatives visit www.PennDOT.gov/Safety.

Follow local PennDOT information on Twitter at www.twitter.com/511PAPhilly. Follow the department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennsylvaniadepartmentoftransportation and Instagram at www.instagram.com/pennsylvaniadot.

MEDIA CONTACT: Robyn Briggs, PennDOT, 610-205-6799
Mike Parker, PFBC, 717-585-3076

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