Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Kicks Off Impaired Driving Effort

HARRISBURG – Law enforcement officers across Pennsylvania began a crackdown on impaired driving using specially trained police officers who can spot the symptoms of drug-induced impairment.

Thirty drug recognition experts, or DREs, will be used until Sept. 3 with DUI taskforces to stop impaired driving. As part of the enforcement effort, each of the 50 DUI taskforces funded by PennDOT has been asked to conduct a sobriety checkpoint on Aug. 24.

Drug recognition experts are able to characterize and stop impaired motorists in seven major drug categories. A DRE is called when a driver seems impaired and his blood alcohol concentration doesn’t match the level of impairment, indicating drugs might be involved.

Developed in California in the 1970s, the drug recognition expert program has since spread to 45 states, including Pennsylvania in 2004. The Pennsylvania

State police coordinate the program through its Bureau of Highway Patrol.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 31 million American drivers admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs in the past year.

PennDOT cautions motorists to read the warnings of prescription and over-the-counter medications, which can also cause impairment if not used properly.

For more information on the drug recognition expert program, visit the Web site.

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