Pennsylvania County Establishes DUI Task Force

Straddling the Allegheny Mountains, Somerset County is a large, mainly rural area in southwestern Pennsylvania. It is also home to some of the drunkest drivers in the state. In response, the county has unveiled a special DUI task force.

Eighteen municipal police departments countywide will work together in an attempt to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road. Their efforts will be enhanced by close coordination with the Pennsylvania State Police. Many of the police departments participating have been issued portable breathalyzer equipment. A grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will help pay for additional equipment and officer pay for sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols.

The average blood-alcohol level for those arrested for DUI in Somerset County is the second highest in Pennsylvania. Drunk drivers have been the cause of two-thirds of the vehicular fatalities in the county.

"The figures speak for themselves," said Somerset Borough police Chief Randy Cox. "What we’re attempting to do is to stop looking at DUIs and other alcohol-related cases as individual, tragic incidents. We’re treating it as a problem that is facing the entire community of Somerset County."

The DUI campaign is scheduled to last for one year.

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