Law enforcement wants to make sure everyone has a safe Labor Day.
Todd Mineweaser, Youngsville Borough police chief, said his department will be participating in the Impaired Driving National Enforcement Crackdown. The event began Friday, Aug. 17 and runs through Monday, Sept. 3.
With Cornfest in Youngsville, the department has a lot to do this weekend. But closer to Labor Day, Mineweaser said, they will start increasing patrols to target impaired drivers.
"We'll be looking for reasons to stop people from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.," Mineweaser said. "Those are the hours when 80 percent of impaired driving occurs."
At that time, blood alcohol content gets higher. Although the department has participated in the program for a number of years, Mineweaser said DUI is still a big problem and isn't going away.
In fact, he said, officers are seeing more people commit their second and third offenses. Another trend involves increased use of controlled substances among impaired drivers.
To combat what they're dealing with, Mineweaser said, police training has also gotten better.
Many of the drugs causing impairment are legal and the drivers have prescriptions for them. These are often pain medications and come with warnings on them to avoid driving.
"People take them for a while and think it's okay to drive," Mineweaser said, "but their reaction time is slower and their judgment is slower."
Since it doesn't take much to be over the limit, Mineweaser said those who are drinking or taking medication should plan ahead. Cabs, buses and walking all provide alternatives to driving.
"People need to be aware our goal as law enforcement is to keep the highways safe," Mineweaser said. "Our prisons are full and we don't get paid to make more arrests. If people don't like to be arrested, they should think and plan ahead."