HERO campaign raises awareness for safer roads during holidays
Adams Police Chief Will Westerman says his officers are busier patrolling roads at this time of year than at any other time.
“We watch for the drunks. You always get a few more of them at the holidays, especially on State Route 228. We get people coming back from Cranberry, people who have come north from Pittsburgh,” Westerman said.
It's not just a problem on New Year's Eve, he said.
“That seemed to tame down a little bit in recent years. But Christmas parties just go on for weeks,” he said.
Last week, state police, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and PennDOT started the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers, a campaign that strives to promote safe and sober driving.
The campaign's goal is to register 1 million designated drivers and make having a designated driver be as automatic as wearing a seat belt.
“Drunk and drugged driving remains a major concern in Pennsylvania, and unfortunately this is completely preventable,” PennDOT Executive Deputy Secretary Brad Mallory said in a statement.
Pennsylvania is the fifth state to officially adopt the campaign, which started in New Jersey and is named after a Naval Academy graduate who was killed by a drunk driver. “The campaign draws attention to the benefits of always having a designated driver,” said Trooper Adam Reed, a spokesman for the state police in Harrisburg.
From Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, state police increase enforcement with DUI checkpoints and roving patrols, Reed said.
“The holidays are always a busy time for us. It's a period that really lasts for a number of weeks,”
Traffic accidents related to alcohol have declined in recent years, according to PennDOT.
Last year, 377 of the 1,310 traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania were alcohol-related. That's down from 512 such deaths in 2008, when there were 1,468 highway deaths.
“That number is on pace to decrease in 2013. Our goal is to decrease this to zero,” said Amanda Schoch, a PennDOT spokeswoman.
Butler County's DUI Task Force increases its use of roving patrols during December, said Charles Barger, chief detective for the Butler County District Attorney's office.
While efforts such as the HERO campaign raise awareness about driving under the influence, programs such as TIPS, a training program for employees in the hospitality industry, helped reduce driving while impaired.
At the Marriott North in Cranberry, which will host large New Year's Eve parties, the entire staff is certified in TIPS.
“We encourage people to stay in the hotel on New Year's Eve. If someone has had too much to drink, it's best to find another way home for them,” said Rebecca Burns, manager of the River City Grille restaurant, which is in the hotel.
Holiday traffic problems are not all related to drinking, said Lt. Jeff Schueler, Cranberry's director of public safety.
“Cranberry is always congested. It's worse with the holidays and with shopping. It seems like traffic on Route 19 and on Route 288 is heavy almost all day. There are so many more people out, and this will last until New Year's,” he said.
Nearly 30 percent of Americans — 94.5 million people — are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home this year, according to AAA.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cranberry stretch among roads in Butler County to be repaired
- Slippery Rock program connects preschoolers with music
- Plan to build Butler duplex for homeless veterans shelved
- Butler County’s burgeoning tourism industry provides economic boost
- Uncertainty over Pa. state budget trickles down to school districts
- Butler DA finds no wrongdoing with how county used voter list