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Officials Urge Safe Driving Over Holiday Weekend

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Law enforcement officials are trying to get the word out. They want to keep you – and other drivers safe this Fourth of July weekend.

Last year, there were 1,109 DUI-related crashes in Allegheny County; 19 were fatal. Experts say that statistically, there is an increase in crashes in the days around the Fourth of July.

To draw attention to the problem, a local group of Young Marines set up flags in South Park – one for every person affected by those DUI-related accidents.

Local police departments are already stepping up patrols ahead of the holiday to help keep people in the Pittsburgh area safe. They are setting up both stationary and roving DUI checkpoints.

"The whole point of that is not necessarily to come up with a high number of arrests," said Cathy Tress of the Pennsylvania DUI Association. "We want to warn people in advance to make the right decision. Don't get behind the wheel impaired so that you don't get arrested."

If you do get caught, you could lose your license. You may also be fined between $300 and $1,000. You could also endanger someone else's life, or your own.

"That's not worth it, not for your life, or risking the other people that are sharing the road with you, with their families, to celebrate this country," Tress said.

"As much as we appreciate what our armed forces have done for us, and the government that we enjoy and the freedoms that we enjoy, please be responsible when you get out there behind the wheel of a car," Allegheny County District Attorney Steve Zappala said. "It's not just your family that we're protecting, it's someone else's family, too."

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