News for Constituents

Autumn Road Conditions Require Driving Adjustments

The changing autumn weather and leaves on the roadway contribute to an increase in vehicle crashes at this time of the year, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Just Drive PA program

For increased safety, PennDOT recommends a number of fall driving tips

  • Increase following distances and avoid tailgating. 
  • Ensure your head lights, tail lights and turn signals are fully operational. 
  • Check your vehicle’s heating and wiper systems. 
  • Replace tires with insufficient tread depth for snowy conditions. 
  • Remain alert at dusk for the movement of deer and other wildlife.

As autumn turns into winter, PennDOT also recommends motorists begin observing a series of winter driving tips.  No matter the time of year, always wear a seat belt, never drive impaired, and turn on headlights any time your wipers are in use. 

Holiday Decorating with the Masters 

The time of year is upon us to plan and prepare our holiday decorations, especially those that bring the smell of pine into our homes, according to the Penn State Cooperative Extension (PSCE). 

Greet your family and guests with an elegant evergreen wreath for your door or winter’s greenery encircling a flickering glass-enclosed candle for your dining room table, all created by you, with a little help from the PSCE.  Workshops are being conducted across the Commonwealth by Master Gardeners eager to help you gear up for holiday decorating. 

Choose from a list of Upcoming Events to find a conveniently located holiday greens decorating workshop.  Walk away with decorations festooned with ribbon and holiday-themed ornaments sure to grant you bragging rights when the company arrives.  Contact your county Master Gardener Program for upcoming events and workshops. 

Protect Your Family From Fire & Carbon Monoxide

According to the PA Office of the State Fire Commissioner, expired batteries are the most common cause of malfunctioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  In addition, it is recommended that alarms more than ten years old should be replaced with a newer model.  Functioning smoke alarms reduce by half the risk of home fire deaths. 

Whether hard-wired, equipped with long-lasting batteries, or standard batteries, home fire safety begins with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  The Office of the State Fire Commission has developed a series of tips for year around improvements in your home’s fire safety conditions. 

Prescription Take-Back Program Can Help You Protect Visiting Children

This holiday season, give your family the gift of confidence that the little ones coming to visit will be in a safe home by disposing of unwanted and unused prescription drugs through the MedReturn boxes sponsored by the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (PA DD&AP). 

An interactive map is available to assist in locating a disposal drop box.  A list by county is also provided, should you experience difficulty with the map or are unable to find a conveniently located Drug Take-Back Box.  Interested individuals can also call 717-783-8200 or send an email inquiry to PA DD&AP for more specific disposal assistance. 

Beware of Phone Spoofing

Phone scams or “spoofing” frequently entail an unscrupulous caller programming a “Caller ID” feature to appear as if the call is from a charity or other legitimate organization whose identity is being co-opted with the goal of scamming money out of the pockets of the unsuspecting and frequently aging population, according to the PA Department of State

Among current spoofing targets is a highly respected central Pennsylvania community outreach and home healthcare provider.  Callers may attempt to solicit funds and gain your personal information under the guise of supporting an organization’s healthcare mission. 

Obtain the caller’s name, a supervisor’s name, and the number where you can return the call.  In turn, contact the Bureau of Charitable Organizations within the PA Department of State at 1-800-732-0999 to determine legitimacy or send an inquiry by email to:  With over 11,000 charitable organizations and 400 registered professional fundraising counsels and solicitors, the PA Department of State recommends observing Tips for Charitable Giving to protect your money and identity. 

PA’s Cold Weather Personal Flotation Device Requirement

Not just any personal flotation device (PFD) will do the job in cold weather, according to the PA Fish and Boat Commission. 

Cold weather boaters are being reminded that carbon dioxide gas, which creates buoyancy in inflatable flotation devices, experiences decreased pressure in cold temperatures, contributing to the disproportionate number of boating fatalities from November through April.  Boaters on the water when temperatures drop below freezing, should wear a foam-filled, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. 

The PF&BC recommends observing the following cold water survival safety tips: 

  • Always wear a life jacket, even when not required.  Many models also offer insulation from cold air. 
  • Never boat alone. 
  • Leave a float plan and know the waters you plan to boat. 
  • Bring a fully-charged cell phone with you in case of emergency. 
  • Wear clothing that still insulates when wet such as fleece, polypropylene, or other synthetics. 
  • If you are about to fall into cold water, cover your mouth and nose with your hands to reduce the likelihood of inhaling water. 
  • If possible, stay with the boat.  Get back into or climb on top of the boat. 
  • While in the cold water, do not remove your clothing. 
  • If you cannot get out of the water, get into the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (HELP). 
  • Once out of the water, get out of the wet clothes and warmed up as soon as possible. 

See the PF&BC’s Frequently Asked Questions related to cold weather life jackets for details on complying with the 2012 regulation.