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Anti-DUI Program Wins National Award

A York County program that aims to prevent repeat DUI offenses has earned national recognition.

The Governors Highway Safety Association last week awarded the York County Court of Common Pleas’ Target 25 program with one of four Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Awards. The awards are given for “outstanding highway safety accomplishments during the previous calendar year,” according to the Judge John S. Kennedy receives a national award for the Target 25 anti-DUI ProgramAssociation.

The Target 25 program was launched in 2011 to focus on the 25 percent of DUI offenders who were getting arrested for a second or subsequent offense before they even appeared in court for the first offense. Target 25 was nominated for the Governors Highway Safety Association award by PennDOT.

Under the program, many individuals arrested in York County for a second or subsequent DUI offense are placed on supervised bail, with conditions including drug testing and 24/7 alcohol monitoring. The goal is to help ensure the offenders remain sober until their court hearing.

Results of the program include:

  • A 90 percent reduction in the number of DUI offenders arrested for another DUI within the same year.
  • A decline in the percentage of all victims of crime in the county who were victims of DUI from 18 percent in 2011 to 6 percent in 2013.
  • A decline in the number of alcohol-related crashes to 404 in 2013 from 506 in 2011.

“We’re extremely proud of the success of this program and its impact on reducing repeat DUI offenses,” said Judge John S. Kennedy, who has handled thousands of DUI cases. “But much more work remains to be done. Too many lives are still lost each year because of DUIs.”

Kennedy said one of his top priorities is legislative reform of the state’s DUI laws to grant local judges more flexibility in handing down sentences to repeat DUI offenders. It’s crucial that repeat offenders are provided comprehensive treatment to address their underlying substance-abuse problem, he said.

“In Pennsylvania, once an individual is sent to the state prison, we as local judges lose all jurisdiction and can no longer offer services to the individual,” he said. “We need the ability to use sentences that require treatment, preferably through York County’s nationally recognized DUI treatment court, and include 24/7 alcohol monitoring.”

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