Delaware County was third in the state for DUIs last year

The Media Barracks, which covers Delaware County, made 622 DUI arrests in 2017 and investigated 165 DUI crashes, the third highest in the state, according to a breakdown by barracks.

The Pennsylvania State Police Troop K Media Barracks saw the second-highest number of crashes related to driving under the influence in the state last year, according to figures released Wednesday.

The Media Barracks, which covers Delaware County, made 622 DUI arrests in 2017 and investigated 165 DUI crashes, the third highest in the state, according to a breakdown by barracks.

Pennsylvania overall saw a 1 percent uptick in DUI-related arrests in 2017 with 19,963, up from 19,518 made statewide in 2016. Troopers also investigated 5,180 DUI-related crashes in 2017, up from 4,520 the previous year, and conducted 631 drug influence evaluations, which was down from 1,016 conducted in 2016.

Leading the pack statewide for 2017 arrests was Troop N in Stroudsburg, with 893. Stroudsburg was also third for DUI-related crashes with 163. The Troop K Philadelphia Barracks was number two for DUI arrests with 649 and number one for DUI crashes, with 175.

Information for prior years only broke down arrests and crashes by Troop unit. Troop K, which also covers Skippack, had a combined 1,824 arrests, 410 DUI-related crashes and 13 drug influence evaluations in 2016.

The figures released Wednesday only include those arrests and crashes investigated by state police and do not include totals from local police departments or other law enforcement.

The Pennsylvania DUI Association, a non-profit professional organization aimed at reducing drunk driving in the state, puts the total number of alcohol-related crashes in 2017 at 10,346, an increase from 10,256 in 2016. Fatalities associated with drunk driving decreased slightly to 293 in 2017 from 297 in 2016, according to the association.

Alcohol-related deaths still accounted for 26 percent of total traffic deaths in the state last year, according to the association, though that was less than in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The DUI Association also lists 2017 as the second-lowest year for alcohol-related fatalities over the past five years and indicates alcohol-related fatalities are trending downward.

However, 18 percent of driver fatalities in the 16-20 age group last year were drinking drivers, according to the association, up from 12 percent in 2016. Another 31 percent of the driver fatalities in the 21 to 25 age group were drinking drivers, up from 29 percent in 2016.

“Driving under the influence – regardless of the method of impairment – is a serious crime that puts the lives of drivers, passengers, and first responders at risk every day,” said Lt. Col. Robert Evanchick, acting commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, in a release. “The consequences of a DUI conviction are long-lasting, and the results of a DUI-related crash can be devastating.”

State police also conducted 3,526 driver education presentations at schools, community organizations and businesses throughout the commonwealth in 2017, more than double the approximately 1,600 conducted in 2016. The presentations are offered at no cost and may be requested by contacting the local state police barracks.

“Keeping Pennsylvania roads safe is a primary function of the state police,” said Evanchick. “There is absolutely no excuse for operating a vehicle while impaired, which is why the department has zero tolerance toward DUI.”

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