Special Reports

Excessive drinking is still a problem

Just after encouraging news was reported in the fight against drunken driving, reality set in during three hours in downtown State College.

Last Thursday morning police picked up three drunken drivers in separate incidents and these were the blood-alcohol levels, well over the state limit: .276, .436 and .264.

Two of the drivers jumped curbs, and in one case a pedestrian took keys from a driver to keep him from continuing.

The incidents from 12:30 to 3:11 a.m. showed the challenge in making progress on this front. Last year DUI rates leveled off in Centre County from recent highs, but even then 908 drivers were arrested, including 400 in State College.

As our Jan. 10 report showed, a new DUI court and other encouraging developments are in place to fight this public-safety problem but they can only do so much.

“We can never stop trying to find ways to bring that number down, and all of these new tools are steps in the right direction to deter repeat offenders,” county District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said in that report.

Our “Focus on Excessive Drinking” initiative began Monday on this page and will run weekly through the Penn State semester. It’ll raise visibility on this serious county problem, as illustrated in just three hours in State College.