Pennsylvania State Police made a record 16,900 drunken driving arrests last year, their eighth consecutive record-breaking year for DUI busts, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. At the same time, alcohol-related crash fatalities dropped to 141, a decline of 14 percent, and alcohol-related crashes investigated by state police declined about 1 percent, to 4,625. “It’s clear that our efforts to keep impaired drivers off our roads in Pennsylvania are having a positive impact,” police Commissioner Col. Frank E. Pawlowski said.
The 16,900 arrests in 2009 represented a 4 percent increase over the 16,156 arrests in 2008, state police reported. Col. Pawlowski said expansion of a drug recognition expert program and another program called Operation Nighthawk, which trains police to spot DUI motorists, fueled the department’s enforcement success. In Operation Nighthawk, a group of 40 to 50 state and municipal police officers gather at 6 p.m. on a Friday for about five hours of intensive training. Afterward, they go on roving patrols.