Supervisors last week approved the submission of a DUI grant application for $59,992, which will boost funding for equipment and aid officers who are a part of the Montgomery Township Regional DUI Task Force.
Montgomery Township Acting Chief Scott Bendig said the grant is a continuation of DUI grants from previous years.
“This grant includes funding for equipment and overtime for officers to conduct DUI enforcement activities, including DUI checkpoints and DUI roving patrols,” Bendig told the board.
Supervisors Chairman Candyce Chimera asked how likely the department is to get the grant.
“We’ve done very well,” Bendig said. “This grant is actually going to be $6 less than we had last year. It looks pretty good in comparison to other DUI task force grants. We do very well. It’s very successful and we are very proactive and very fortunate.”
According to the application, the task force plans overtime for one officer at four hours at $69 an hour for 32 roving DUI patrols, at a total overtime cost of $8,832.
Low-staffing sobriety checkpoints are estimated at 14 officers for five hours at $69 an hour, for eight checkpoint events, for a total overtime amount of $38,640, according to the application.
Other shared expenses applied for in the grant include $11,020 for salaries and wages, $375 for travel, $1,000 for equipment, and $125 for goods and services.
The Montgomery Township Regional DUI Task Force is comprised of Montgomery Township, Horsham Township and Upper Dublin Township in Montgomery County, and Warrington Township, New Britain Township and Hilltown Township in Bucks County.
It is separate and distinct from the North Penn Regional Task Force.
“Funding comes through us,” Bendig said. “When a department decides to put out a checkpoint, we are the point people.”
Bendig likened the grant money to an ATM machine, with each department in the task force having access to it much like a debit card.
“If a department says they need 15 people for a checkpoint, we get whatever we can get from different departments. It’s pretty significant staffing for departments of our size,” Bendig said. “It’s kind of unusual in the way it works: it’s a pool of money to do checkpoints in six municipalities.”
The Montgomery Township Regional DUI Enforcement Team originated in 1993 for the purpose of combating impaired driving and removing those impaired drivers from the roadways.
According to the grant application, the enforcement team has come into contact with more than 59,000 motorists in its 19-year history and has made thousands of arrests.
The objective of the team in 2012 is to contact another 3,000 motorists, according to the grant application.
The team also plans to conduct eight, five-hour, reduced-manpower sobriety checkpoints, which create the perception that apprehension of someone who is driving under the influence is likely, according to the application.
Each checkpoint will have 14 officers, according to the application.
Locations for checkpoints are based on alcohol-related crash data from PennDOT, and alcohol-related crash data and arrest data from the jurisdiction where the checkpoint is being conducted, according to the application.
According to the grant application, three out of 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash sometime in their lifetime. About 1.46 million drivers are arrested each year in the United States for DUI, according to the application.
In 2010, there were 33,808 traffic fatalities in the U.S., 32 percent of which were alcohol related, according to the application.
In Pennsylvania, 53,491 drivers were arrested for DUI in 2010, almost a 1,000 driver increase from 2009, according to the application. In Pennsylvania that same year, 1,324 traffic fatalities occurred, with 33 percent being alcohol related, according to the application. On average, about 34 alcohol-related crashes occur in the state daily, according to the application.
In Montgomery County and Bucks County in 2011, there were 6,391 arrests for DUI. In Pennsylvania in 2011, there were 52,859 arrests for DUI, according to the application.
In 2010, 31 percent of driver deaths in Pennsylvania, aged between 16 and 20, were drunk drivers, according to the application.
The application states that members of the task force are trained in sobriety checkpoint operations, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and breath test operations.
The task force conducts checkpoints on various state routes within the six municipalities: Bethlehem Pike/Route 309; DeKalb Pike/Doylestown Road/Route 202; Welsh Road/Route 63; Horsham Road/Route 463; Limekiln Pike/Route 152; Upper State Road; County Line Road; Easton Road/Route 611; Street Road; Bristol Road; Lower State Road; Blair Mill Road; Norristown Road; Souderton Pike/Route 113; Dublin Pike/Route 313; Dublin Road; Church Road; Hilltown Pike; Diamond Street; Callowhill Road; Minsi Trail; Blue School Road; Bethlehem Pike; Blooming Glen Road; Camp Hill Road; Fort Washington Avenue; Fitzwatertown Road; Jenkintown Road; Pennsylvania Avenue; Susquehanna Road and Tennis Avenue.