Drunk driving shatters lives. Our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers know accidents caused by drunk drivers in Pennsylvania often result in serious injuries or even fatalities. In 2013, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 11,041 alcohol-related accidents in Pennsylvania. Alcohol-related deaths each year represent about 32 percent of all traffic deaths, according to PennDOT.
One way to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents is through education. Drivers should understand that drinking and driving is a deadly combination that could not only ruin their lives, but the lives of innocent people who are sharing the road. Another way to stop drunk drivers is through strong legislative efforts.
In Pennsylvania, lawmakers are considering beefing up the ignition interlock law. Most states require these devices for certain first-time drunk driving offenders. An ignition interlock device requires a driver to provide a breath sample. If alcohol is detected, the car won’t start. According to a report in PennLive, Sen. John Rafferty, R-Montgomery County, who has been pushing the bill for years, says other states with the law have seen a 33 percent drop in drunk driving fatalities.
As the law now stands, repeat drunk driver offenders are required to have the systems installed in their vehicles, but first-time DUI offenders who don’t qualify for ARD lose their driver’s license for a year. (ARD is the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program that allows defendants to be placed under supervision for a period of time). The proposed bill would require first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.10 or higher (among other factors) to have an ignition interlock system installed.
By requiring IIDs for certain first-timers, offenders will be able to drive their vehicles to work or for any other purpose as long as they remain sober. The proposal has won support not only from anti-drunk driving groups like MADD, but also from criminal defense attorneys who represent DUI offenders. The DUI attorneys say the IID proposal provides an opportunity for offenders to get to work and take care of their family needs without driving under the influence.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, nationwide more than 10,000 people died in 2013 in drunk driving accidents. Many more people faced catastrophic injuries or lifelong disabilities.
At Marcus & Mack, our knowledgeable attorneys have years of experience representing victims injured in all types of car wrecks, including drunk driving accidents. We know these crashes are preventable. Drivers who make the careless and reckless decision to drink and drive must be held accountable for their actions. Victims and families who lost loved ones may be entitled to compensation for medical past and future expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering and even punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar dangerous behavior.
The bill needs full approval from the State Senate. An identical bill introduced in the House will be the subject of hearings in the upcoming months.
Central and Western Pennsylvania attorneys at Marcus & Mack have helped the injured and families who lost loved ones in accidents for nearly 40 years. Contact Marcus & Mack now if you need aggressive representation. Call (814) 277-5664 for a free consultation or visit www.marcusandmack.com. Tell them you mean business!