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What will it take to stop deadly trend?

They’re still not getting the message.

Drinking and driving is a deadly practice.

The most recent year for which statistics are available, 2017, saw an increase in alcohol-related crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

That year’s 10,874 fatal crashes involving drivers with blood alcohol content of .08 or higher represented 29 percent of all traffic fatalities. In Pennsylvania, where 1,137 people died, they represented 28 percent.

It’s a national trend that has been taken seriously in this area with strong programs aimed at getting the drunks off of the roads, notably with the local DUI Task Force and DUI Advisory Council, coupled with strong penalties.

The penalties for the typical person charged with drunken driving are costly, from attorney fees to court costs and expensive fines, plus time spent performing community service. For those involved in more serious crashes involving drunken driving, they often are sentenced to jail time.

Yet it has not stopped people from driving drunk. In the past week, reports appeared in the Sun-Gazette about three repeat offenders. Two of them were charged twice each within a span of two months.

The third DUI case involved a driver on his third arrest for drunken driving. One of his earlier convictions involved a fatality, and he served three years of a three- to six-year state prison sentence for homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence.

Clearly, some people still are not getting the message.

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