Pennsylvania has one of the highest rates of DUI arrests in the United States. In response to this reality, lawmakers have been looking for ways to minimize incidences of DUIs and the negative consequences that may follow.
The Pennsylvania state Senate recently passed a bill intended to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the road by implementing harsher penalties for repeat DUI offenders.
Facts about DUI recidivism
Recidivism among DUI offenders is high. Overall, an estimated one-third of drivers convicted of driving under the influence are repeat offenders and a high percentage of cases involve people driving with a suspended license from prior DUIs. According to an NHTSA report, someone with a blood alcohol level over .08 g/dL involved in a fatal accident is 4.5 times more likely to have prior DUI convictions.
Details of the new bill
The new bill, informally known as Deana’s law, will force those convicted of DUIs to serve separate sentences for each count against them instead of serving the sentences simultaneously. Prior laws allowed offenders to serve concurrent sentences, shortening jail time. The bill also imposes longer prison sentences on those charged with a DUI three or more times, potentially charging those drivers with a second-degree felony. Additionally, the bill institutes sobriety monitoring for at least three months after release from prison as a requirement for posting bail. These rules will take effect for Pennsylvania drivers in November of 2022.
The stricter measures contained in this new bill may serve as a partial solution to reducing the number of DUIs issued in the state of Pennsylvania.