DUBOIS, Pa. (WTAJ) — PennDOT, The Highway Safety Network, and Penn Highlands DuBois campus joined together to host a “mocktail” party leading into the Fourth of July weekend.

With DUI accidents on the rise, the mocktail party was designed to stress the dangers of impaired driving ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

“Currently, right now, our number two leading cause of trauma in this tri-county area is motor vehicle accidents,” Trauma and EMS outreach and injury prevention coordinator, Kara Bauer said. “And we are seeing an uptick in the amount of accidents related to drugs and alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents.”

In 2021 there were 3,286 crashes in Pennsylvania between Friday, June 25, and Monday, July 5, according to PennDOT. Of those, 306 were alcohol-related resulting in 17 deaths. Another 124 were drug-related crashes which resulted in nine deaths.

Corporal for the DuBois Police Department, Orlando Prosper said there is typically a lot more alcohol use around the Fourth of July and through the summer months.

“We just want to remind everybody that when you’re out and you choose to drink, don’t drive,” Prosper said. “Make sure you have a designated driver. Use an Uber system, and call someone if you have to. Just don’t get behind the wheel when you’re impaired.”

Attendees of the event enjoyed a mocktail beverage recipe before participating in an impaired driving simulator. Officers also performed field sobriety tests as participants wore impairment simulation goggles.

Officials mentioned how it is not only alcohol DUIs that are on the rise.

“But I think now we’re really seeing a big trend with drug-related DUIs,” DuBois City Police Officer Lance Thompson said. “We’re starting to see more drug-related impairment, especially with medical marijuana,” Thompson is also a certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE)

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Thompson also said, officers, are trained to recognize when an individual has been driving under the influence of drugs and how to identify the type of drug causing the impairment.

DuBois City Police, along with municipal police departments statewide and the Pennsylvania State Police, will continue to conduct high visibility enforcement for the duration of the Fourth of July Impaired Driving Campaign, which began June 20 and continues through Monday, July 4.

“Law enforcement will offer zero tolerance to DUI offenders,” Thompson said.

Participants were also encouraged to join the conversation online by sharing a safety selfie from the event using #CelebrateSafe.