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DUI arrests in Pennsylvania on the rise

The Pennsylvania State Police recently released statistics on driving under the influence incidents in for the previous year. These statistics reveal that troopers investigated over 4,000 driving under the influence-related crashes and that over 19,500 DUI arrests were made in 2016. These numbers only include instances investigated by state police and do not account for statistics from other law enforcement agencies.

The state police commissioner notes that in addition to alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription medication can negatively affect a person's driving. Drug recognition experts are state troopers who receive specialized classroom and field training to recognize the signs of impairment caused by many controlled substances. These experts conducted over 1,000 drug inference evaluations in 2016.

The commissioner warns about the possible penalties and long-term consequences, such as fines, driver's license suspension and imprisonment. She states that one of the department's primary functions is to prevent DUIs through education and enforcement. In 2016, troopers conducted more than 1,600 free driver education presentations to schools, community groups and businesses in hopes of raising awareness about the dangers and consequences of driving under the influence.

Those charged with a first DUI offense with a blood alcohol content of 0.10 percent or higher will now be required to comply with the new law, which went into effect on August 25, 2017. First-time offenders used to be subject to a one-year license suspension, among other penalties, such as prison time, fines and mandatory education. They are now also required to use the ignition interlock system for at least 12 months. Lawmakers, law enforcement, advocacy groups and other interested parties hope that this new law will lower the future amount of DUI crashes and arrests in Pennsylvania.

Source: Lebanon Daily News, "More than 19,500 DUI arrests in 2016 by Pennsylvania State Police," John Latimer, Sept. 2, 2107

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