Frequency of Drugged Driving Surpasses Drunk Driving in Pennsylvania
According to auto club AAA, the rate of drugged driving in Pennsylvania is now surpassing drunk driving. Of the approximately 53,000 arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) throughout the state in 2016, the number of arrests for drunk drivers and drugged drivers were split about evenly for the first time.
AAA released this information at a Drugged Driving Summit in Harrisburg, where law enforcement officials, lawmakers, healthcare representatives and various other experts took part in discussions regarding the challenges associated with drugged driving.
State looks to reduce driving while impaired
One possible solution discussed at the summit was legalizing marijuana in the state. Stephen Erni, executive director of the Pennsylvania DUI Association, is against that idea, arguing that more access to the drug would just mean that more people would use it. Thus, there would be a greater likelihood of people driving under the influence of the drug.
Also cited was a study on the state of Washington, where marijuana has been legal for several years. According to the report, traffic accident fatalities related to drugged driving doubled the year after marijuana was legalized. On the other hand, these studies, including a similar one focused on Colorado, may be based on flawed data.
Additional solutions discussed were a ramp-up of field sobriety testing and greater prosecution for drugged driving, along better overall law enforcement methods.
While no clear decisions were made at the event, experts believed it was a productive meeting that shed light on an increasingly important issue in Pennsylvania. The ratio of drugged drivers to drunk drivers continues to increase on a nationwide level, and police officers in local districts are left to determine how they can curb those rising numbers.
Pennsylvania has strict DUI laws for people accused of operating a vehicle while impaired due to drugs or alcohol. To fully explore all your legal options, meet with knowledgeable Berks County DUI defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.