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Record Year for PA State Police DUI Busts

The Pennsylvania State Police are on a streak, reaching their eighth consecutive record-breaking year for DUI busts.

The PA State Police credit better vigilance in their efforts to keep impaired drivers off the road, reducing the number of alcohol-related crashes, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Last year, the Pennsylvania Police made 16,900 DUI arrests, which is a 4 percent increase over the 16,156 arrests in 2008, state police reported.

In addition, alcohol-related crash fatalities dropped to 141, a decline of 14 percent.

State police officials say the expansion of a drug recognition expert program and another program called Operation Nighthawk, which trains police to spot DUI motorists, has been the main reason for their record year and the department's overall success.

Through the Operation Nighthawk program, a group of 40 to 50 state and municipal police officers gather for about five hours of intensive training to spot DUI motorists.

As previously discussed, Pennsylvania also has introduced new legislation aimed at cracking down on DUI first time offenders by requiring them to have ignition interlock devices on their vehicles.

The goal of the newly proposed DUI legislation is to deter people from drinking and driving or even stop drinking alcohol altogether.

In addition, the legislation would update the state's three tiered DUI statue. State Representative Tom Houghton is the sponsor of the bill. The legislation would revise the DUI statues to include stricter penalties for first time offenders.

Currently, there are 46 states that have laws permitting interlock devices for impaired drivers.

However, the law is only mandatory for first time offenders in six states including New York, New Mexico, Arizona, Illinois, Louisiana, New England and Washington.