Drive impaired this St. Paddy's Day and it will cost you plenty o' green...    STATE — St. Patrick's Day has become one of the deadliest holidays on our nation's highways. The statistics are compelling: From 2013 to 2017, almost 50% of men 21 to 34 years of age killed in crashes were a result of impaired driving. St. Patrick's Day 2017 saw an 8% increase in impaired driving fatalities over the normal national rate and over 50% of nighttime fatal crashes were impaired driving crashes. Motorists on Pennsylvania's highways didn't fare much better. St. Patrick's Day from 2014 to 2018 saw 140 impaired driving crashes resulting in 4 fatalities and numerous injuries. Worse yet, the number of impaired driving incidents has steadily climbed each year.     This must change. As a result, law enforcement will be conducting impaired driving details throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania over the St. Patrick's Day holiday weekend. Drive impaired and you could end up under arrest.  A first offense DUI arrest in Pennsylvania can cost upwards of $10,000.00 in fines and associated costs, up to 72 consecutive hours in jail and a suspended drivers license. Repeat offenders face even more severe penalties including incarceration in a state correctional facility. In addition, recent changes to the sentencing guidelines make DUI a felony offense under certain circumstances. Hefty consequences that could easily be avoided by simply planning ahead.   St. Patrick's Day is also a deadly holiday for pedestrians. In some cases, they're struck by impaired motorists; in other cases, impaired pedestrians step out into traffic. Regardless, the result is a senseless tragedy that could have been prevented. Being a pedestrian is dangerous enough - the National Highway Transportation Administration reports that on average one (1) pedestrian is struck and killed every two (2) hours in this country. Impairment and carelessness on the part of pedestrians only increases the chance of being struck and killed by a vehicle.   C. Stephen Erni, Executive Director of the PA DUI Association expressed the following: "It is unfortunate that what started as an inclusive and fun holiday where everybody is invited to be Irish for the day has morphed into one of the deadliest holidays due to impaired drivers. Motorists need to exercise the same sound judgement and caution during the St. Patrick's Day Holiday as they should during any other time of the year. Holidays do not relieve motorists of their responsibility to operate their vehicles safely nor do they relieve pedestrians of their responsibility for their own personal safety. We at the Pennsylvania DUI Association want everybody to enjoy this St. Patrick's Day while being safe and considerate of all those sharing the roadway."                Motorists are reminded that it's never acceptable to drive impaired. Plan ahead, arrange for alternate transportation and consult with your doctor concerning any prescribed medications and their potential to impair. Together, we can eliminate impaired driving from our highways and create a safer Pennsylvania for all.