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Pennsylvania’s drunk driving conundrum

Drunk driving continues to be a problem without a solution. Pennsylvania is not alone when it comes to cracking the code to figure out why state residents get behind the wheel after a night out with friends. According to state police,  nearly 19,000 DUI arrests occurred last year, resulting in 4,000 accidents and 87 deaths.

Even more alarming, those numbers do not account for local municipalities throughout the Keystone State who have yet to report their numbers to the Pennsylvania DUI Association. While speculative, that body claims 311 fatalities.

Problems in need of solutions

States around the country are desperately seeking a solution. Some are looking at the possibility of lowering blood alcohol content (BAC) levels to 0.05 to save lives and make roads safer for state residents. The recommendation was made in the last decade by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Utah has taken action, with New York and Washington taking it under consideration.

While authorities are unanimous in lowering drunk driving, many worry that the proposal goes too far and is based on “junk science” funded by special interests and federal – not state – money. Detractors also predict an overburdened criminal justice system with countless cases for prosecutors to manage.

Add to that countless residents bellying up to the bar with bartenders unable to determine levels of inebriation. Numerous small establishments would have to undergo training for a second time.

To date, the Commonwealth has yet to join the collective of states. History tells the story: Pennsylvania was slow to come on board to reduce the BAC level while driving from 0.1 to 0.08.


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