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State Highway Safety Showcase

Alcohol Highway Safety Program

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

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Summary
In the past ten years impaired driving crashes on Pennsylvania’s roadways have claimed over 500 lives annually.  Although the current alcohol-related crashes and deaths are trending downward, alcohol-related deaths are still a significant problem in Pennsylvania, accounting for approximately one-third of all highway deaths.The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Alcohol Highway Safety Program employs several strategies (including enforcement, education, etc.) to support the reduction of alcohol-related deaths on the state's roadways.

Program Details
The PennDOT Alcohol Highway Safety Program is a multi-faceted, data-driven alcohol safety program that includes enforcement, education, press releases, and inter-agency cooperation. The program's law enforcement efforts in alcohol highway safety provide extra benefits. For example, sobriety checkpoints often catch other violations, like failure to wear seat belts, expired registrations, suspended licenses, outstanding warrants and drug possession. Key program components include:

Funding
The program is supported by federal highway safety funds (Section 402 and 410) state funds in the amount of $317,492.

Effectiveness
The fact that alcohol-related crashes and major injuries for 2008 are at their lowest total in ten years speaks to the program's effectiveness. The five-year alcohol-related fatality average has also declined each of the past four years.

Strong partnerships have been developed between law enforcement, various government levels, the press, judiciary, education, and safety professionals, fostering improved structures of communication among the partners. State and Municipal Police, the Pennsylvania DUI Association, Community Traffic Safety Personnel, State Safety Press Officers, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) all contributed to program success. Each stakeholder contributes to the combined effort under the same crash and fatality reduction goal. The success of the program as a whole is based on the planning, development, evaluation methods, and expertise of all parties.

As a result of this program, the data-driven approach has been verified as a legitimate tool for defining and addressing alcohol highway safety and other highway safety areas. This approach also provides structure to the overall highway safety program, thus supporting and focusing data collection and analysis, problem identification, funding distribution, personnel allocation and publicity.

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