For most, the holiday season is a time of merriment and cheer and a chance to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, the holiday season also means a higher number of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests, crashes and fatalities both in Pennsylvania and across the nation.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of 300 people lost their lives nationally in alcohol-related crashes during the stretch of time between Christmas and New Year’s Day over the past five years. In 2016, almost 800 people died in December alone as a result of drunk driving crashes.
DUI in Pennsylvania
While it’s more frequent during the holiday season, a DUI is a serious charge at any time of year. DUI charges in Pennsylvania come with costly fines and fees, jail time and increased insurance rates. According to the NHTSA, the average DUI arrest costs $10,000. In Pennsylvania, some of the fines associated with driving under the influence are:
- Traffic fine: $300 to $10,000 depending on the circumstances of your arrest
- Towing fee: $50 plus mileage
- Impound fee: an average of $125 per day
- Education and treatment: $100-$1000
- License restoration: $25-$75
Additionally, upon your second or subsequent DUI conviction, an ignition interlock system is installed in your vehicle for one year. This system requires the driver to blow into it before the vehicle can start and at certain times while the vehicle is in operation. If you’re charged with a DUI, you face additional negative consequences like court time, community service time and potentially, lost wages.
In the hopes of pulling more offenders off the roads and reducing the occurrence of drunk driving this time of year, law enforcement is stepping up their game. Seasonal campaigns and additional publicity remind us that there are consequences for driving while drunk. Nationally, efforts by law enforcement agencies include advertising campaigns to raise public awareness, increased police patrols to boost enforcement and visibility and additional sobriety checkpoints.
While there are more reasons to drink this time of year, there are even more reasons to make responsible decisions before you drive. The slogan, “buzzed driving is drunk driving” is a good reminder that even a small amount of alcohol can impair driving and affect your judgment. Before you drink, keep yourself and others safe by choosing to designate a sober driver or use a ride-hailing service.