Pennsylvania legislature considers ways to reduce drunk driving crashes

Pennsylvania legislators will consider a bill that is intended to reduce the number of drunk driving crashes in the state.

Across the country, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been advocating for harsher penalties for individuals convicted of a first drunk driving offenses. Pennsylvania legislators have taken notice and they are set to consider a bill that will likely reduce the number of drunk driving collisions in the state.

The legislation - SB 1036 - would require all those convicted of drunk driving offenses in Pennsylvania - including first-time offenders - to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. The device includes a breathalyzer test, which prevents the car from starting until the motorist has passed the test. In other words, if an individual has consumed dangerous amounts of alcohol, he or she will be unable to start the car.

Right now, ignition interlock devices must only be installed in vehicles once a motorist has been convicted of two or more driving under the influence offenses in Pennsylvania.

Other states have seen positive effects following the implementation of similar laws. For instance, the number of people killed in drunk driving collisions fell by 38 percent after New Mexico instituted a similar ignition interlock law.

While the bill has yet to be passed into law in Pennsylvania, many activists are hopeful that steps will be taken soon and the number of drunk driving collisions in Pennsylvania will subsequently fall.

The danger of Pennsylvania drunk driving collisions

According to the most recent drunk driving statistics, 408 people died in drunk driving crashes in Pennsylvania in 2012. In all, those deaths accounted for 31 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state during that year, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Sadly, Pennsylvania saw a 2.5 percent increase in the number of drunk driving deaths in 2012 from the year prior.

Across the state, drunk drivers were responsible for almost 12,000 motor vehicle accidents in 2012, according to data from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Of those collisions, 8,724 resulted in at least one person suffering injuries as a result of the crash.

Pennsylvania is similar to the nation at large, where about 31 percent of all traffic fatalities are caused by drunk drivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Motorists who get behind the wheel when impaired put the lives of everyone else on the road at risk. When a drunk driver causes a motor vehicle collision, he or she must be held accountable for the consequences suffered in the crash. If you or someone you love has been involved in a drunk driving accident in Pennsylvania, consider talking to a skilled personal injury attorney, who will work to make certain your interests are protected.

Keywords: Pennsylvania, drunk driving, accidents