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Keep Philly Safe: Don’t Drink and Drive

By: Anapol Weiss

Thinking about driving home after a night out on the town? Think again. In 2017, there were 52,189 DUI arrests on Philadelphia streets.

Deep down, nearly everyone understands that drunk driving is dangerous. Yet, people continue to do it every day.

At Anapol Weiss, we take public safety very seriously, but we understand there are different ways to get through to people. For some, all the morbid statistics and public safety campaigns in the world aren’t enough to discourage the choice to drive drunk. For those people, the threat of a DUI arrest – along with the financial and social burden that comes along with one – maybe a better way to reach them.

Whatever the method, as long as the message reaches people, starts the conversation AND changes the behavior, Philadelphia will be safer for it.

A Closer Look at the Numbers

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a top safety issue throughout the state. Although Pennsylvania saw a decline in alcohol-related crashes and fatalities in 2018 from the previous year, alcohol-related fatalities increased.

Alcohol also accounts for 28% of all traffic fatalities in the state. 2018 also saw a troubling increase in underage alcohol-related driver fatalities.

DUI arrests in Pennsylvania have have remained relatively flat for the 5-year period 2013-2017. 2017 had 52,189 recorded incidents.

Unfortunately, the 5-year average for 2017 (most recent available year) for drugged driver crashes saw a 34% increase from the previous 5-year average reported in 2013. While alcohol-related crashes are trending downward, drug-impaired crashes are trending upward for the 2013-2017 5 year period.

Drinking and driving not only affects the driver, but also those around them. 10% of all alcohol-related fatalities were non-drinking drivers – responsible bystanders who happened to be in the way of an intoxicated, dangerous driver.

Tips to Stay Safe in DUI-Heavy Areas

With the onslaught of football, basketball, and hockey season just around the corner, educating yourself on the prevalence and potential danger of DUIs is more important than ever.

  • Drink responsibly. It only takes an average 180-lb man about 4 drinks over the course of a couple hours to hit the legal .08 BAC (blood alcohol content) limit.
  • Avoid driving near stadiums and arenas on game days. Although the Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field, and Citizens Bank Park all have Codes of Conduct to prohibit excessive alcohol consumption, there are nonetheless people who ignore these guidelines.
  • Stay in for the holidays. Alcohol-related fatalities in 2018 accounted for 41% of all Pennsylvania fatalities that occurred during holiday weekends.
  • Walking home drunk can be dangerous too. Roughly 10% of alcohol-related fatalities in Pennsylvania involved intoxicated pedestrians.
  • Avoid driving at night. 67% of alcohol-related crashes occurred at night in 2018, with the most happening from midnight-4am. 58% of alcohol-related fatalities occurred at night.
  • Plan ahead for a safe ride home. There’s no shortage of ridesharing services in Philly. Avoiding a DUI and a dangerous situation is as easy as hailing a taxi, calling an Uber, or hailing a Lyft.

Looking to the Future

At one point, Pennsylvania was considered to have some of the most lenient DUI laws in the nation, but it looks to be changing that by passing new laws more strictly enforcing DUIs. In August, a law was passed expanding their ignition interlock program to include first-time offenders.

Anyone in the state caught with a blood alcohol level above .10 will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for 12 months. This requires drivers to blow into the device before starting their vehicle – if their BAC is too high, the vehicle is put on a temporary lock for five minutes. For every failed attempt, that duration is extended.

If you’re already at the legal limit of .08, it typically only takes one additional drink within the next hour to bump that up to .10.

Be mindful, drink responsibly, and keep Philly safe! For more information, contact our Philadelphia injury lawyers today at Anapol Weiss.