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Officials urge safe driving during holiday season

All over Pennsylvania, there will be more than 458 families who will have an empty chair at their holiday celebrations this season.

That accounts for the number of people who were killed in the almost 12,000 drunken-driving accidents in the state last year. This sobering statistics brought together more than 35 uniformed law enforcement officers last Tuesday to meet with the Montgomery County commissioners, members of the county health department and PennDOT officials on the steps of the county courthouse in Norristown.

This concerted effort will be dubbed as “Operation Safe Holiday.”  This body was together in order to urge motorists to drive safely during the holiday season where  traffic accidents often happen.

County health department health promotion director, Brandi Chawaga said that awareness is the first step towards prevention.

PennDOT regional assistant executive Scott Fletcher added that while PennDOT is responsible for the construction, maintenance and safety of state highways, 85.9 percent of all accidents are caused by driver behavior.

According to Fletcher, most accidents are due to driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, aggressive driving and distracted driving. The Holidays are supposed to be a festive time which should not end with a crash that could have been prevented.

The Montgomery County has recorded 510 crashes, including one that resulted in a fatality, between Thanksgivings through the New Year’s travel periods in 2011-2012, based on PennDOT statistics.

Out of the 510, 54 were alcohol related, 24 were caused because of aggressive driving while in 74 of the crashes, vehicle occupants were not wearing seat belts.

According to PennDOT statistics, it was noticeable that Bucks County had fewer crashes; there were only 393, but it resulted in a higher number of fatalities: there 3 during that same time period. Out of the 393 crashes, 54 were alcohol related and one of those involved a fatality. There were 27 of those crashes, which included one fatal, due to aggressive driving. The third fatality was attributed to one of 33 crashes involving occupants who were not wearing seat belts.

The police are responsible for keeping communities safe and will have stepped up multidepartment sobriety checkpoints and enforcement, the public has a shared responsibility when it comes to keeping roadways safe. This role was emphasized by Commissioner Chairman Josh Shapiro.

He said that the police must be vigilant in reminding motorists to drive safely, keep their hands on the wheel, their eyes on the road and stay sober when behind the wheel. Shapiro, who, as a state lawmaker, was the one who spearheaded the enactment of a law barring motorists from texting while driving.

First Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele gave the information that the county this year has prosecuted 14 homicide-by-motor vehicle cases. This means that 14 people have been killed, 14 families have lost a loved one and that 14 driver’s families will lose their loved ones, for a time, over something that can be prevented. Steele said that the reason is not being responsible.

Steele also warned pedestrians to be extra careful and always vigilante for drunken, speeding and/or careless drivers.

If you have received a traffic ticket, please contact an experienced speeding ticket lawyers. Protect your right to drive legally

Source: Philly Burbs Com

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