PennDOT Announces New Law Penalties for Repeat DUI Offenses

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that a new Pennsylvania law has changed the grading of certain offenses for driving under the influence (DUI), adding more stringent penalties for these violations.

“This law makes significant changes to existing law that will ultimately increase the protection of all drivers by keeping repeat offenders from continuing to operate a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol after being charged with a DUI,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Repeating these offenses puts others at risk and these law changes reflect the severity of these acts to make our roads safer.”

The legislation created Act 59 of 2022 – referred to as “Deana’s Law” – which amends the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code by increasing the grading for certain DUI offenses, requiring consecutive sentencing for certain repeat DUI offenders, and imposing an 18-month driving privilege suspension for a DUI conviction graded as a felony of the second degree.

Under the new law, an individual charged with DUI (general impairment) who refuses a breath or chemical test or who is charged with DUI with a BAC of .16 or higher or a DUI involving controlled substances, and already has the following number of prior offenses, commits:

  • A felony of the third-degree for two prior offenses (previously two or more prior offenses); and
  • A felony of the second-degree for three or more prior offenses (previously a third-degree felony).

The felonies mentioned above are classified as follows:

  • A felony of the third degree is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than seven years; and
  • A felony of the second degree is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years.    

Another change under this law is that a sentence imposed on an individual for a DUI offense who has two or more prior offenses shall be served consecutively to any other sentence the individual is serving or any other sentence imposed by the court, except for violations that are required to be merged. In addition, the law provides for a sentencing enhancement in cases where an individual has four or more prior DUI offenses. 

“Driving impaired puts everyone at risk, and repeat offenders disregard the risk they pose every time they get behind the wheel impaired,” said Major Robert Krol, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol. “This law enhances penalties for those individuals, and hopefully they will think twice before reoffending.”

For more information on this law change, please visit the Driver and Vehicle Services website. Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services.

Wolf Administration Reminds Motorists To Use Caution To Avoid Deer Collisions

Pennsylvania Acting Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian, and State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick today reminded drivers of the higher risk for deer-related crashes in the fall and that insurance companies cannot add a surcharge to auto insurance premiums for such crashes.

“Late fall and early winter is when drivers are most likely to have a deer-related crash, and dawn and dusk are peak times for deer activity,” said Humphreys. “Auto collisions involving deer or other wildlife are considered a not-at-fault accident under Pennsylvania law, meaning insurers cannot raise your premiums or add a surcharge to your premium following a deer-related crash, but this exclusion does not apply if your car does not come in contact with the animal. Any damage to your vehicle from a deer-related accident will fall under a policy’s comprehensive coverage.”

State Farm estimates there were over 1.9 million animal collision insurance claims in the U.S. between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.

Pennsylvanians, according to State Farm, have a 1-in-57 chance of being involved in an animal-related crash, the sixth highest in the nation. PennDOT reported more than 5,700 deer-related crashes in 2021, up from almost 5,600 in 2020. The 2021 crashes resulted in 1,255 injuries and 13 fatalities.

“Drivers can help reduce the possibility of a deer-related crash by slowing down and using caution, particularly in areas where deer crossing signs are posted,” said Gramian. “It’s also important to educate young or inexperienced drivers on increased deer movement. Most importantly, your best defense in a crash is your seat belt. Always buckle up, every trip, every time.”

Drivers should be aware of the following tips from the American Automobile Association (AAA) to help prevent a crash or to reduce the damage from a collision:

  • Stay alert and pay attention to road signs while driving. Areas with high levels of deer activity will often have yellow, diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer.
  • Use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic. Generally, the light reflecting off their eyes will reveal their location and flicking your high beams will often cause the animal to scurry away.
  • Deer rarely travel alone; if one is seen, there are likely more, so slow down and watch for other deer to appear.
  • Swerving away from animals can confuse them so they don’t know which way to run and can also put your car in the path of oncoming vehicles, so resist the urge to swerve. Instead, stay in your lane with both hands firmly on the wheel.
  • If the crash is imminent, drivers should remove their foot from the brake. During hard braking, the front end of a vehicle is pulled downward which can cause the animal to travel up over the hood toward the windshield. Letting off the brake can protect drivers from windshield strikes because the animal is more likely to be pushed to one side of the vehicle or over the top of the vehicle.
  • Always wear a seat belt. The chances of being injured when hitting an animal are much higher if the driver is not wearing a seatbelt.

“First and foremost, slow down. When you travel at a high speed, you reduce the time you have to identify the situation and respond to avoid the animal on the roadway,” said Evanchick. “If you are one of the many drivers who hit a deer, don’t panic. Immediately pull over to a safe area and assess the situation. If there are any injuries, your vehicle needs to be towed, or the roadway is blocked; contact 911 immediately.”

In Pennsylvania, two types of crashes must be reported to police: crashes that result in a vehicle being damaged to the degree that it needs to be towed from a scene and collisions that result in injury or death. Minor collisions that do not result in injury may be reported to police, but it is not legally required.

Drivers involved in any crash with another vehicle are required to exchange license and insurance information with involved parties and render aid when necessary.

To report a dead deer for removal from state-maintained roads, call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.

Consumers with questions about auto insurance may contact the Insurance Department Consumer Services Bureau by calling 1-877-881-6388 or at

Boback Named as One of Pennsylvania’s Most Influential Female Leaders

Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Wyoming) has been named one of the Commonwealth’s 100 most influential female leaders by City & State Pennsylvania Magazine, which released its inaugural “Power of Diversity: Women 100” list.

The magazine’s honorees include “female public servants, business executives, nonprofit leaders, advocates, academics and others who meet at the intersection of politics and policy.”

“It is truly amazing to be recognized in such magnitude at the end of my legislative career,” said Boback. “To be considered one of the 100 most influential women leaders in our state is nothing short of extraordinary.”

Boback holds a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania and taught in the public school system for 33 years. She served as majority chairman of the House Children and Youth Committee and currently serves as majority chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. Boback sponsored and helped to initiate a myriad of legislative measures that make Pennsylvania a better place to live and raise children. Boback will retire on Nov. 30 after serving eight terms in the state House of Representatives

The Wright Center Awarded Trio of Grants From City of Scranton

The Wright Center for Community Health recently received three grant awards from the city of Scranton as part of a distribution of federal funds to promote residents’ recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scranton awarded a total of about $1 million in wellness grants to nearly two-dozen area nonprofits. City officials focused this round of grant giving on three categories: drug overdose prevention, behavioral health and violence prevention, and wellness.

The Wright Center – a Scranton-based provider of primary health care and preventive services – is active in all three of the targeted categories and was chosen to receive a combined $145,000 in grant support. The organization will inject those public resources into three ongoing programs to benefit patients, health care providers, and the larger community.

The first award, to be used for overdose and prevention programs, will enable The Wright Center for Community Health to further engage community partners and patients in the services of its state-designated Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence. A portion of the $50,000 grant will provide community training on the topics of substance use disorder, medication-assisted treatment, and stigma surrounding addiction. Among the intended recipients of the educational  sessions are law enforcement professionals, first responders, and government officials. This grant also will assist with harm reduction and long-term recovery support services in the region, which aim to reduce fatal overdoses.

The second award of $50,000 will be used to enhance The Wright Center for Community Health’s existing resiliency and wellness programming. Its Lifestyle Medicine service line will be integrated more fully into primary health care services, with the intent of engaging more high-risk patients in programs designed to help them positively adjust their behaviors. A prime focus will be on treating obesity as a chronic disease that contributes to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, cancer, and overall premature death.

The third award, in the amount of $45,000, will underwrite The Wright Center’s participation in a training program conducted by the New York-based Sanctuary Institute to promote employee wellness and create a supportive, trauma-informed environment for the benefit of the organization’s workforce, patients, and the broader community. The institute’s training model is seen by many as a needed antidote to the intensified pressure on health care workers and others brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scranton’s mayor announced the wellness grant distributions at a news conference on Nov. 22. The funds are part of $68.7 million that Scranton had received through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to address the pandemic’s economic and health-related fallout on city residents.

All applications were reviewed by the city, including by its public health coordinator, Dr. Rachna Saxena, and compliance consultants from Anser Advisory to ensure that organizations were not receiving duplicate federal benefits, per the guidelines set by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Applications were also reviewed for project sustainability, service to city residents, and more.

“The thoughtful and generous allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds by Scranton City Council will support our mission-driven efforts to improve the health and well-being of the patients and communities we humbly serve,” said Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and CEO of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education.

“Thanks to our local and federal officials,” she said, “these resources will help us to expand and augment our ongoing efforts to address the opioid epidemic and empower recovery, our resiliency and wellness programming, and trauma-informed training for our governing board, executive management, health care providers, interprofessional learners, and patients.”

The Wright Center for Community Health operates a network of primary care practices in Northeast Pennsylvania, three located in the city, providing access to affordable, nondiscriminatory, high-quality services including medical, dental, and behavioral health care. The nonprofit enterprise also maintains an administrative and educational hub in Scranton’s South Side neighborhood.

WVIA Radio To Present Rebroadcast of Delaware Water Gap Celebration

WVIA Radio in conjunction with Chiaroscuro Records will be presenting its annual coverage of the Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts (COTA) over 10 nights during the station’s All That Jazz radio program, Monday through Friday, December 5-9 and 12-16 at 7 p.m. Produced and hosted by George Graham, the series presents music from the 44th annual festival’s main stage and the nearby Deer Head Inn that took place on this past September.

The festival was founded in 1978 as a showcase for the wealth of world-class jazz artists who make their home in the Pocono Northeast. It featured two full days of music in downtown Delaware Water Gap. WVIA has been presenting annual coverage of COTA since 1997.

WVIA’s coverage includes both music and interviews with artists. Here is the schedule:

Monday, December 5: Adam Niewood’s Double Entendre from the main stage/ Terry & Paul Kleinfelter from the Deer Head

Tuesday, December 6: Nancy & Spencer Reed from the main stage/ Ron Thomas & Joe Michaels from the Deer Head

Wednesday, December 7: Carolyn Leonhart Quartet from the main stage

Thursday, December 8: Skip & Dan Wilkins Quartet from the main stage

Friday, December 9: Water Gap Orchestra from the main stage

Monday, December 12: Andy Bianco Quartet / Jay Rattman and Friends from the Deer Head

Tuesday, December 13: Ryan Devlin & Steve Kortyka Quintet from the main stage/ Mode for Joe Duo [Bill Washer & Jon Ballantyne] from the Deer Head

Wednesday, December 14: Najwa Parkins & Resolute Sound from the main stage/ Jim Ridl Trio from the Deer Head

Thursday, December 15: Organik Vibe Quartet from the main stage

Friday, December 16: Quartette Oblique featuring Dave Liebman & Michael Stephans from the Deer Head/ Peter Fluck & the Foztones from the main stage

Keystone College To Host Sip & Paint Wine Tasting

Keystone College’s Hospitality Business Management Department and the Keystone Chapter of the American Wine Society will host a holiday Sip & Paint wine-tasting event on Monday, December 5 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at 120 College Avenue in Factoryville.

The event, open to adults ages 21 and over, will offer wines from Lucchi Family Wine Cellars and feature artist and Keystone College Class of 2022 graduate Angela Ceccarelli. The  $40 per-person cost includes wine sampling, a take-home art canvas, paint supplies, and desserts. There will also be an ugly sweater gift-basket contest. Guests may bring their own food.

To register, visit or contact or call  (570) 945-8334.

Gov. Wolf Highlights Significant Infrastructure Investments

Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today shared examples of how the first year of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) – signed by President ​Joe Biden in November 2021 – is supporting transportation in Pennsylvania communities.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a game changer for Pennsylvania,” said Gov. Wolf. “This funding is already helping us speed up projects underway in Pennsylvania. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help us fix our highways and bridges, improve rail transit, invest in broadband infrastructure, and meet our clean energy goals to fight the damage climate change is causing in Pennsylvania communities.

“Because of this money, we can keep Pennsylvanians safer, support more union jobs, and ensure that Pennsylvania’s infrastructure is ready to meet the needs of the 21st century.”

The BIL invests in various infrastructure types and all transportation modes. The BIL will bring $4 billion in new highway and bridge funds to Pennsylvania over the next five years, and nearly $600 million in the 2022 federal fiscal year alone. These investments are supporting and accelerating projects across Pennsylvania when, without it, cost and supply challenges would have resulted in fewer projects.

Using state and federal investments across the state, through September there were 611 projects underway or expected to start or go out for bid this year. In that same time, 282 construction contracts for highway, bridge, and other improvement projects were completed statewide through PennDOT’s private-sector partners. Additionally, repair, replacement, or preservation work on 425 bridges was put out for bid or completed by PennDOT forces. Nearly 4,000 roadway miles were improved by department or partner crews, including 1,065 miles of paving.

While the BIL is helping to fix roads and bridges, it is also supporting passenger and freight rail, aviation, ports, and electric and alternative fueling infrastructure development. To invest in and grow our transportation network and our communities, PennDOT is also expanding outreach and emphasis on equitable transportation and business opportunities, while continually innovating and finding efficiencies. Local governments and other entities eligible for new and expanded grant programs under the BIL can find information on the department’s page dedicated to these funding opportunities.

The Wolf Administration has made dozens of announcements on the important infrastructures projects that have been expedited, supported by or made possible this year thanks to the landmark BIL:

Roads, Bridges, and Communities

Rail, Transit, Ports, and Aviation

Electric Vehicles

Information about the state’s infrastructure and results the department is delivering for Pennsylvanians can be found at Find PennDOT’s planned and active construction projects at

Marywood University “Day-in-the-Life” Exercise Science Experience

Marywood’s exercise science department will host a day-in-the-life experience for prospective students on Thursday, December 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at the Center for Athletics & Wellness on the university’s campus.

In addition to immersive experiential learning sessions in sports rehabilitation and combine-style strength and conditioning assessments, students who register for this free event will meet with faculty, participate in a Q&A student panel, and learn more about the exercise science program at Marywood. Additionally, a complimentary lunch and campus tour will be included.

Geisinger Serves Meals at Drive-through Veteran Appreciation Dinners

To thank local veterans for their service,Geisinger served about 2,900 meals during drive-through veteran appreciation dinners at 11 locations across its service area on Thursday, Nov. 10. The dinners for U.S. military veterans and guests were provided at no cost to participants.

Meals were provided in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Danville, Bloomsburg, Shamokin, Jersey Shore, Muncy, State College, Mifflintown and Lewistown. This year marked the 20th anniversary for the event in Bloomsburg, where it originated before expanding across Geisinger’s service area.

“It was an honor and privilege to serve about 2,900 veterans and their guests this year,” said U.S. Army veteran Chris Grill, program manager of Military and Veterans Affairs at Geisinger. “This event gave us an opportunity to thank our local veterans for all they’ve done to protect the freedoms we enjoy.”