Pennsylvania's Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has recently released some promising statistics. Traffic-related fatalities caused by drunk driving are on the decline for the first time in decades.
While this reduction in traffic-related deaths is definitely a milestone to celebrate, they've noted what appears to be a newly-emerging trend. Officials determined that an increasing amount of drivers that are being stopped on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) have been found impaired by drugs more so than alcohol.
While they point out that drunk driving statistically is more deadly than drugged driving, PennDOT officials report that each is notably dangerous. In fact, they stated that the amount of traffic stops or crashes that can be attributed to drugged driving during the past 10 years have been trending upward. What's more, they don't expect there will be a decrease in them any time soon.
On a national scale, according to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2015, at least 20 percent of the 32,000 fatal crashes that occurred in the United States that year involved a drugged driver. Ten years prior, only 12 percent of 2005's 39,200 fatal accidents could be attributed to a driver having drugs in their system.
According to PennDOT, an analysis of 2016 traffic accident data reflects that drunk drivers were two times more likely to cause fatal car crashes than drugged drivers. That year, while there were approximately 10,000 drunk-driving accidents, there were only an estimated 4,100 drugged-driving collisions. Both drug- and alcohol-related crimes result in similar numbers of arrests in the Keystone State each year.
Law enforcement authorities are constantly implementing new strategies to keep both drunk and drugged drivers off Pennsylvania's roadways. If you've been charged with DUI, you may benefit from discussing potential defenses in your case with a State College criminal defense attorney.
Source: TribLive.com, "Drugged drivers becoming as prevalent as drunken drivers," Chuck Biedka, July 02, 2017