Advisory council hopes to prevent repeat offenders
An idea to place wrecked cars throughout the region aims to bring the consequences of driving under the influence to the forefront of drivers’ minds ahead of the Fourth of July.
Michael Diehl, of the state Department of Transportation’s District 3, told the area DUI Advisory Council Tuesday he is working on a new DUI awareness campaign for the upcoming holiday.
He plans to put crashed vehicles with informational banners in areas of high traffic or where crashes typically take place if he can get approval. One possible location could be on highway 220 from Linden passing the Woodward Fire Hall.
Diehl has been working on making billboards to be placed in Linden, however he thinks seeing a crashed car from an actual DUI offense can create real connections in people’s lives. It could be something that catches their eye and entices them pull over to see for themselves what driving impaired can do.
“My hope is that everyone will benefit from this as it will hopefully enlighten DUI offenders as to what could happen and show the community the dangers of impaired driving,” said Diehl. “We need to get the message out about the dangers and continue to look for ways to help those with substance abuse issues to ensure they remain sober.
“A sober driver is a safe driver and continuing to recognize risks and identify programs to assist those with substance abuse issues should result in fewer repeat DUI offenders,” he continued. “Enforcement efforts of officers across the state play a vital role in getting DUI offenders off our roads and keeping the general public safe.”
Though Charles Kiessling, Lycoming County coroner, stated the amount of DUIs have clearly dropped with only three or four fatal crashes this year, there is something to be said about those who come back to court for their second, third or even fourth DUI or driving under the influence of drugs offense.
“It’s scary because these people are playing Russian Roulette with their lives. They might think it’s harmless but they are driving thousands of pounds of metal down the highway that will kill someone,” said Kiessling. “I don’t know how we get it through to them. This is not just a simple DUI, this is you putting your life and everybody on the highway’s life at risk. I don’t know how we get through to these folks.”