A recent report released by Pennsylvania’s State Police shows that drunk driving accidents involving an intoxicated driver increased by nearly 15 percent last year. But what is behind the sudden spike in DUI accidents in Philadelphia and all across Pennsylvania?
It is safe to assume that the risk of encountering a drunk driver on the roads of Philadelphia is rather high, especially on Friday and Saturday night. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs negatively impacts the driver’s reaction and judgment, both of which can lead to a car crash.
Hundreds of PSAs have warned drivers all across the U.S. to refrain from getting behind the wheel when they are intoxicated. Numerous stories in the media also indicate that driving under the influence of booze is a bad idea, considering how many people get injured and die in DUI crashes.
And yet, the problem of drunk driving seems to be increasing in Pennsylvania. A recent report by the State Police showed that the number of DUI accidents in the state surged by nearly 15 percent in 2017, when police were called to 5,180 crashes involving drunk driving.
Similarly, arrests for driving under the influence have also increased sharply all across the state. Last year, nearly 20,000 people were arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania, an increase of 2.2 percent compared to 2016.
Fact: Nationwide, more than 10,500 people die in car accidents caused by a drunk driver every year.
“Since symptoms of opioid use and alcohol intoxication can be identical, it is rather difficult to tell the difference between a drunk driver and a driver who is on opioids,” says our Philadelphia DUI accident lawyer at the Dan Doyle Law Group.
Regardless of whether the driver is drunk, on opioids or illegal drugs, him or her driving can lead to a collision. And many times, there are no police officers in sight to spot a drunk driver and arrest him or her before he/she hurts an innocent person. Local authorities have attempted to address the problem by stationing officers in areas with the highest rate of DUI accidents, but this step alone cannot solve the problem entirely.
Let’s also not forget that DUI crashes increase tenfold during holiday weekends, which is why people are at an even bigger risk of encountering an intoxicated driver during the winter holidays (Christmas and New Year’s), Thanksgiving holiday season, and other holidays.
It is also important to note that Pennsylvania’s state police’s statistics do not include local accidents in the calculations. According to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were more than 12,000 DUI accidents in the state in 2017, an increase of over 2 percent from the previous year.
That means that each day, there are nearly 39 recorded DUI crashes in Pennsylvania. Add to that figure the DUI crashes that go unreported or are categorized as hit-and-run accidents, and you get an even scarier picture of the scope of the problem. But if you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision involving a drunk driver, chances are you couldn’t care less about statistics.
You need an experienced Philadelphia DUI accident attorney by your side. It is true that victims of DUI crashes are more likely to suffer major medical expenses, loss of income, and other damages, compared to victims of non-DUI accidents, because DUIs usually involve extremely high speed, road rage, unsafe lane turns, and many other dangerous and illegal driving habits.