All too often, motorists who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol have their license reinstated, only to reoffend. In response to the high rate of recidivism in Pennsylvania, legislators have introduced a bill that would impose tough penalties on those with multiple DUI convictions.
The proposed legislation - House Bill 1733 - would increase the prison sentence for those who cause fatal drunk driving collisions in Pennsylvania. The penalties would be even steeper if the individual had previously been convicted of another DUI offense.
The impetus for the bill came from a fatal collision, in which a drunk driver killed a 33-year-old mother in Franklin Township in 2012. The impaired motorist had been convicted of driving under the influence the year prior, as well.
The hope is that this bill would deter individuals from getting behind the wheel when impaired, as repeat drunk driving offenses are common in Pennsylvania and across the country. According to a legislator in support of the bill, approximately 2 million individuals who drive while intoxicated have prior DUI convictions.
The danger of drunk driving in Pennsylvania
In 2012, over 400 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents involving drunk drivers in Pennsylvania, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In total, these deaths accounted for 31 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state that year. Sadly, drunk driving was responsible for 2.5 percent more traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2012 than the year prior.
Across the state, there were almost 12,000 drunk driving collisions in 2012. Of those, 8,724 accidents resulted in at least one individual suffering personal injuries.
The statistics in Pennsylvania are representative of the country as a whole. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 31 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States were caused by drunk drivers in 2010. In all, over 10,225 people were killed in drunk driving collisions across the country that year.
Drivers who cause motor vehicle accidents due to their impairment should be held responsible for the damage done in the collision.
When someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by an impaired driver, the consequences can be life changing. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a drunk driving collision, you should promptly seek the advice of a skilled personal injury attorney, who will be able to inform you about your rights to recovery.