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March 17, 2017

St. Patrick's Day DUI checkpoint in Bucks County tonight

The Bucks County DUI Task Force will conduct a St. Patrick's DAY sobriety checkpoint Friday night into Saturday morning on Route 611 in Warrington.

From 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., drivers traveling in both directions on the road will be stopped and observed for signs of impairment. Drivers who appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be subjected to field sobriety tests and possibly arrest.

The checkpoint will be staffed by 18 officers from Bensalem, Middletown, Newtown, Warminster and Warrington Townships; Newtown and Quakertown Boroughs; and the Pennridge Regional Police Department.

During a DUI checkpoint in Newtown Township on March 17 last year, 300 drivers were observed, resulting in four DUI charges and one for drug possession, according to the Bucks County District Attorney's Office.

Across Pennsylvania, there were 53 alcohol-related crashes on St. Patrick’s Day last year – and 1,210 crashes in which 13 people died on the weekends before and after the holiday, according to preliminary data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

More than 250 people died on U.S. roads during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2011-2015, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). An estimated 75 percent of all fatal St. Paddy’s Day crashes involve a driver with a blood alcohol level that is at least two times the legal limit.

The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on a Friday this year is expected to increase the risk of overindulgent drivers getting behind the wheel, the district attorney's office said.

“St. Patrick’s Day has become a day to share good cheer with family and friends,” District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub said in a statement. “Remember: Have fun, but don’t drink or do drugs and drive. Be safe.”

Rather than driving, celebrants should consider a designated driver, a ride from a relative or friend, a taxi or a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft.

The efforts of the task force – the oldest county-wide impaired driving enforcement program in Pennsylvania – are funded largely through a continuing federal safety grant administered through PennDOT.