Can Pennsylvania Laws Be Strengthened to Decrease Driving Under the Influence?

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1 May 2011 Can Pennsylvania Laws Be Strengthened to Decrease Driving Under the Influence? Virginia Graziani Lowe

2 The Center for Health Law, Policy and Practice works locally and globally to promote health for all people through legal education, scholarship and empirical research. Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 1 of 17

3 Issue Summary Driving under the influence (DUI) is a major contributor to motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities. In 2009, the most recent year with data available, 406 people were killed in alcoholrelated motor vehicle crashes in Pennsylvania, accounting for 36% of the total traffic deaths in the state that year. 1 Between 1998 and 2009 there has been a 22.7% decrease in alcoholimpaired driving fatalities per 100,000 people in Pennsylvania, compared to the national average decrease of 23.3% during that time. 2 This progress is likely due to a combination of legislative changes, vehicle and occupant safety enhancements, and a concomitant increase in public awareness and change in social norms. Although there has been a significant decrease in alcoholrelated crash fatalities, this decrease has plateaued over the past several years and DUI remains a major public health issue in Pennsylvania. 3 Several Pennsylvania laws have contributed to the decrease in drunk driving fatalities. Pennsylvania lowered the per se illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving from.10 to.08 in Forty seven percent of traffic fatalities were alcohol related in 1992, the year before the per se BAC was lowered, and dropped to 40% four years later. 4 Pennsylvania initiated use of ignition interlocks in 2000, and although there are no statistics available specifically for Pennsylvania, ignition 1 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Traffic Safety Facts 2009 Data, Alcohol Impaired Driving. Available at: 2 Pennsylvania Historical Crash Facts and Statistics Books. Available at: nform. 3 Id. 4 Id. Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 2 of 17

4 interlocks have been shown to decrease re arrest rates for alcohol impaired driving and possibly also decrease alcoholrelated crashes. 5 Graduated driver s license (GDL) programs have been shown to reduce young drivers crash risk by 20 to 40% 6, and states with the most restrictive graduated driver licensing laws have lower rates of DUI than in those states with less restrictive laws 7, although no statistics are available specifically for Pennsylvania. The current decline in the progress of reducing DUI suggests that further efforts must be considered to advance the goal of eliminating drunk driving. Not all laws aimed at deterring DUI are effective, however, and even effective laws must be implemented correctly and consistently to impact public health. Additionally, laws that are already in place can be enhanced to further improve their effectiveness. I. Introduction: Current Trends in DUI In the early 1980 s, the percentage of alcohol related traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania was over 50%. Throughout the end of the twentieth century, there was a steady decline in the percentage of alcohol related traffic deaths in the state, however, the percentage has plateaued at approximately 36% since and drinking and driving remains a significant public health and safety issue in Pennsylvania. In 2009 there were 12,712 alcohol related crashes in the state, resulting in 449 deaths. This translates to 35 crashes, 1.2 deaths and 26 people injured each day due to drinking and driving. Drunk driving affects not only the drunk driver 30% of the fatalities are people other than the drinking driver themselves. In the United States in 2009, 14% of traffic deaths among children involved an alcoholimpaired driver, and 51% of child passengers age 14 and younger who died in alcohol impaired crashes were riding in the vehicle 5 Randy W. Elder, et al., Effectiveness of Ignition Interlocks for Preventing Alcohol Impaired Driving and Alcohol Related Crashes, 40 Am. J. Preventative Med (2011). 6 Jean T. Shope, Graduated Driver Licensing: Review of Evaluation Results Since J. Safety Res (2007). 7 The National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report, Graduated Driver Licensing and Drinking Among young Drivers. Available at: 8 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Historical Crash Facts and Statistics Books, supra note 2. Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 3 of 17

5 with the impaired driver. 9 In addition to injury and the loss of human life, the economic costs of alcohol related crashes in Pennsylvania are a major concern. In 2000, alcohol related crashes in Pennsylvania cost the public an estimated $5.2 billion, including $2.4 billion in monetary costs and almost $2.8 billion in quality of life losses. People other than the drinking driver paid $3.2 billion of the alcohol related crash costs. 10 II. The Effects of Recidivism, Age, and BAC on DUI Recidivists significantly contribute to the problem of DUI. Drivers with a BAC of.08 or higher involved in fatal crashes in the United States are eight times more likely to have a prior conviction for DUI than are drivers with no alcohol. 11 About onethird of all drivers arrested for DUI are repeat offenders 12 and the risk of a driver who has one or more DUI convictions becoming involved in a fatal crash is about 1.4 times the risk of a driver with no prior DUI conviction. 13 Laws aimed at reducing DUI by recidivists include license suspension/revocation, vehicle impoundment, and mandatory ignition interlock installation. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for year olds, and a substantial proportion of these crashes are alcohol related. In Pennsylvania in 2009, in the year age group, 27% of driver deaths were drinking drivers, up from 22% in Young people are particularly at risk for being in a crash at all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), when compared to older drivers. 15 Laws aimed a decreasing DUI in young people include minimum 9 NHTSA, supra note Impaired Driving in Pennsylvania. Available at drivingusa/pa.pdf. 11 NHTSA, supra note Jim Fell, Repeat DWI Offenders in the United States, NHTSA Traffic Tech No. 85, Feb Available at: 13 NHTSA, Repeat DWI Offenders Are an Elusive Target, NHTSA Traffic Tech No. 217, March Available at: 14 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Historical Crash Facts and Statistics Books, supra note Paul L. Zador, et al., Alcohol Related Relative Risk of Driver Fatalities and Driver Involvement in Fatal Crashes in Relation to Driver Age and Gender: An Update Using 1996 Data., 61 J. Stud. Alcohol (2000). Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 4 of 17

6 drinking age laws, zero tolerance laws (illegal for drivers under 21 to drive after any drinking), and graduated driver license laws. The per se illegal BAC is currently.08 in all states. Pennsylvania decreased the per se illegal BAC from.10 to.08 in Lowering the illegal BAC from.10 to.08 has resulted in reductions of alcohol related crashes, fatalities and injuries between 5 and 16% in the United States. 16 However, 6% of traffic fatalities in the United States in 2009 involved drivers with BAC between.01 and.07, resulting in 1,905 deaths, and 5% of traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2009 involved drivers with BAC between.01 and.07, resulting in 64 deaths. 17 III. Current Laws: Do they work? Can they be strengthened? A. Ignition Interlock Laws The leveling off of the decline in alcohol related crashes over the past several years has created impetus for researchers, organizations, and government to evaluate the effectiveness of current and proposed laws to further curtail DUI. Approaches to DUI that are currently being evaluated include laws regarding the use of ignition interlocks, laws strengthening GDL programs, and laws lowering illegal BAC limits. Ignition interlocks decrease recidivist drunk driving during the period of installation. 18 Ignition interlocks are devices that are connected to a vehicle s starter system and require the driver to blow into the device before the car will start. If the device detects that the driver s alcohol level exceeds a preset amount, it blocks the power to the starter. The device can be set to require a retest after a period of time to prevent the driver from drinking after starting the car, or from having someone else blow into the device to start the car. Prior to the availability of interlocks, the traditional penalties for DUI were jail, fines, and license suspensions. Of these, license suspension has been shown to be the most effective in reducing recidivism, however, many suspended DUI offenders continue to drive without licenses or insurance. 19 Interlocks, alternatively, prevent impaired drivers 16 James C. Fell and Robert B. Voas, The Effectiveness of Reducing Illegal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits For Driving: Evidence For Lowering the Limit to.05 BAC, 37 J. Safety Research (2006). 17 NHTSA, supra note Charlene Wills, et al., Alcohol Ignition Interlock Programmes for Reducing Drink Driving Recidivism. 1 The Cochrane Database of Systematic Revs. (2009). 19 Randy W. Elder, et al., Effectiveness of Ignition Interlocks for Preventing Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 5 of 17

7 from starting and operating their motor vehicle, while allowing compliant offenders to retain driving privileges so that they may continue to work and travel, while sober. Additionally, the interlock system is designed to affect the driver s behavior by requiring a change in their habits related to drinking and driving. Multiple research studies have demonstrated that ignition interlocks reduce subsequent DUI arrests from 50 90% in both first time and repeat offenders. 20 However, the effects dissipate after the interlocks are removed. 21 There are very few studies of the effects of interlocks on motor vehicle crashes. In one study, interlock use resulted in lower single vehicle nighttime crashes (a proxy for alcoholrelated crashes) but an increase in total crashes when compared to drivers whose licenses had been suspended. Another study confirmed this higher overall crash risk in interlock drivers compared to suspended drivers, however the absolute crash rates for interlock drivers were similar to those for the general population. 22 The greater number of crashes in interlock drivers is likely due to the fact that interlock users drive more than those with suspended licenses, and greater exposure to driving increases crash risk on all populations. 1. Other States Despite the evidence of the effectiveness of ignition interlock laws in reducing DUI recidivism, their impact is limited by multiple factors, most importantly by the number of offenders who participate. 23 Although there are approximately 1.4 million DUI arrests each year in this country, only approximately 146,000 interlocks were in use at the time of the most recent national estimate. 24 All states except Alabama have some degree of ignition interlock law, and eleven states (Alaska, Arizona, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Alcohol Impaired Driving and Alcohol Related Crashes. 40(3) Am. J. Preventative Med (2011). 20 NHTSA, Ignition Interlocks What you Need to Know. A Toolkit for Policymakers, Highway Safety Professionals, and Advocates, Nov Available at: 21 Elder, supra note Id. 23 Id. 24 NHTSA, supra note 20. Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 6 of 17

8 Washington) have mandatory ignition interlock provisions for all offenses. Hawaii s mandatory interlock law will go into effect in In June, 2005, New Mexico was the first state to require first time offenders to install an ignition interlock. New Mexico also has a tiered program which extends the length of required interlock installation from one year for a first offender, to life for a fourth or subsequent conviction. 25 Between 2002 and 2006, In New Mexico, interlock installation rates approached 35% of all arrested offenders, and preliminary results show an approximate 32% reduction in alcohol related crashes during the same time period Pennsylvania Pennsylvania first enacted its ignition interlock program in Under the current law, following a period of license suspension, all offenders convicted of a second or subsequent DUI are required to have an interlock installed on each motor vehicle they own, operate, or lease, for one year. 27 Offenders are also issued a restricted ignition interlock driver s license. Offenders bear the costs of installing and maintaining the device. Interlock installation is not required for first time offenders, even for those with BAC.16 and higher. Regardless of the number of DUI convictions, the maximum time required to maintain interlock installation in Pennsylvania is one year. There were 49,238 DUI arrests in Pennsylvania in There were only 3,419 ignition interlocks in use in the state in At present, there are no bills pending to strengthen the ignition interlock laws in Pennsylvania. However, The Drunk Driver Repeat Offender Prevention Act of 2011 was introduced to the Senate by U.S. Senators Lautenberg and Udall on February 3, 2011, and has been referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. The bill directs the Secretary of Transportation to withhold federal aid highway funds if the state has not enacted or is not enforcing installation of ignition interlocks for at least 180 days for all drivers convicted of DUI. 29 If this bill passes, 25 National Conference of State Legislatures, State Ignition Interlock Laws. Available at: 26 NHTSA, supra note Pa.C.S. A (Westlaw through 2010 Regular and First Special Sessions) 28 NHTSA, supra note Drunk Driver Repeat Offender Prevention Act of 2011, S.273, 112 th Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 7 of 17

9 Pennsylvania will either need to change its interlock laws to include first time offenders, or risk losing federal highway funds. B. Graduated Driver s License Laws Motor vehicle crashes account for 36% of U.S. teens deaths. The first few months of driving for young drivers entails the highest crash risk. 30 Inexperience, immaturity and risk taking are three factors that contribute to the high rate of crashes involving teenagers. 31 All 50 states have adopted some form of Graduated Driver s License (GDL) program to restrict teen driving in situations known to be risky. The GDL programs vary across the country, however, the main components include a required supervised initial learning stage with a minimum amount of supervised driving, followed by an intermediate stage with restrictions on nighttime driving and number of passengers, and a minimum age at which the restrictions may be lifted. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has defined an optimal system as the following: the minimum age for a learner s permit is 16; the learner stage lasts at least 6 months, during which time parents must certify at least hours of supervised driving; and the intermediate stage lasts until at least age 18 and includes both a night driving restriction starting at 9 or 10 PM and a strict teenage passenger restriction allowing no teenage passengers, or no more than one teenage passenger. 32 Current GDL programs have reduced young driver crash risk by approximately 20% to 40%. 33 The population based rate for drivers aged 16 or 17 involved in fatal crashes decreased from 27.1 per 100,000 population in 2004 to 16.7 in Congress 1 (2011). 30 Robert B. Voas & James C. Fell, Preventing Alcohol Related Problems Through Health Policy Research. Nat l. Inst. on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the Nat l. Insts. of Health. Available at: 28.htm. 31 Id. 32 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Licensing Ages and Graduated Licensing Systems, March Available at: 33 Shope, supra note Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Drivers Aged 16 or 17 Years Involved in Fatal Crashes United States, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Oct. 22, 2010, at Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 8 of 17

10 1. Relationship between GDL and DUI Drivers less than 21 years old are subject to lower illegal BAC limits, ranging from 0.00 to 0.02., in every state. Although a smaller percentage of drivers under 21 drive after drinking compared with older drivers, when they do drink and drive, the younger drivers consume more alcohol than the older drivers. 35 Compounding this problem, drivers under 21 on average have 1.4 passengers with them when they drive after drinking, compared with an average of 0.79 passengers for older drivers. 36 Studies have demonstrated that young drivers in states with the most restrictive GDL laws have lower rates of heavy drinking than do young drivers in states with the least restrictive laws. 37 Additionally, the percentage of drivers aged 15 to 17 that self report driving under the influence of alcohol is greatest in states with the least restrictive GDL laws, and least in the states with the most restrictive GDL laws. 38 The reduction in underage drinking in states with the most restrictive GDL laws may be partly due to the fact that the beginning driver cannot drive to the locations at night, such as parties, where alcohol is available to them. Restrictions that begin at 10 PM or earlier have the potential to reduce teen driver fatal crashes more than restrictions set to begin at 11 PM or midnight Other States New Jersey has a unique combination of a higher licensing age and a strong GDL applicable to all new drivers. The law limits any unsupervised driving until age 17, after at least 6 months of supervised driving. During the intermediate stage, drivers may have no more than one passenger in the vehicle and may not drive between 11 pm and 5 am. All drivers with permits or probationary licenses must display a GDL decal on their front and rear license plates. Full privileges without restriction cannot be obtained until age New Jersey saw a statistically significant 35 Ralph Hingson & Michael Winter, Epidemiology and Consequences of Drinking and Driving. Nat l. Inst. on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the Nat l. Insts. of Health. Available at: 1/63 78.htm. 36 Id. 37 The National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report, supra note Id. 39 Voas, supra note State of New Jersey Basic Driver License. Available at: Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 9 of 17

11 decrease in crash rates of 17 year olds, including a 14% decrease in crashes that caused injuries and a 25% decrease in fatal crashes, following implementation of their GDL program. Reductions in fatal crashes of 17 and 18 year olds carrying more than one passenger decreased 23 and 24% respectively. 41 Between 2004 and 2008, New Jersey, along with New York, had the lowest 5 year annualized rate of 16 and 17 year old drivers involved in fatal crashes in the country, at 9.7 per 100,000 population Pennsylvania Pennsylvania s GDL program allows drivers to advance to unsupervised driving at age 16 years 6 months, if they have undergone six months of supervised driving. During the intermediate stage, drivers are restricted from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., and the maximum number of passengers is restricted only by the number of seat belts in the vehicle. Drivers may obtain an unrestricted license one year after being issued their learner s permit and after having completed fifty hours of supervised driving. 43 Between 2004 and 2008, the 5 year annualized rate for drivers aged 16 or 17 involved in fatal crashes in Pennsylvania was 19.8 per 100,000 population, compared to the national average of 16.7, and New Jersey s rate of In Pennsylvania, the number of fatal crashes that involved a 16 or 17 year old driver increased from 40 in 2009 to 57 in 2010, a 43% increase. 45 Representative Kathy Watson (R Bucks/144 th ), Chair of the House Transportation Committee s Transportation Safety Subcommittee, has proposed House Bill 9 to update Pennsylvania s GDL law. The Bill calls for expanding training to 65 hours, including ten hours at night and five during inclement weather, before a teen can test for his or her unrestricted 41 Allan F. Williams, et al., Evaluation of New Jersey s Graduated Driver Licensing Program. 11(1) Traffic Injury Prevention 1 7 (2010). 42 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MWWR, supra note Pennsylvania Young Driver Law. Available at: 44 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, supra note Legislation to Revise PA s Graduated Driver Licensing Law Introduced, SQVNews.org, at _08_23_01 (last visited May 3, 2011). Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 10 of 17

12 license. The legislation also calls for a limit of one teen passenger in a car driven by a holder of a junior driver s license (ages 16 to 18), with exceptions for family members. 46 A recent survey of Pennsylvania residents demonstrated that almost 60% of those polled support tougher laws for holders of junior driver s licenses and almost 75% support passenger limits for teen drivers. 47 House Bill 9 was presented to The House Transportation Committee and passed unanimously on May 3, 2011, and is up for full consideration in the near future. C. BAC Limits Blood alcohol concentration is the proportion of alcohol to blood in the body. A person s BAC is determined by the rate of alcohol consumption, and the body s absorption, distribution, and metabolism of the alcohol. Age, gender, percentage body fat, and whether food is eaten with the alcohol can all influence BAC. On average, a 170 pound man will reach a BAC of.08 after four drinks in an hour on an empty stomach. For a 135 pound woman under the same conditions, it takes three drinks to reach a BAC of Divided attention, information processing, and drivingrelated tasks, such as steering, braking, speed control, lane tracking and judgments of speed and distance, become significantly impaired at or below alcohol concentration levels of Scientific studies demonstrating the effects of alcohol on driving related skills gave impetus to the movement to reduce the illegal BAC from.10 to.08 toward the end of the twentieth century. By 1993, ten states had lowered their BAC limits to.08. Lowering the illegal BAC limit from.10 to.08 resulted in a significant safety impact across the country. In certain jurisdictions the proportion of drinking drivers in fatal crashes 46 H.R , (Pa. 2011). 47 Watson, Allstate Announce Results of Statewide Polling on Teen Driver Safety, May 2, 2011 at: (last visited May 4, 2011) 48 Hingson, supra note Herbert Moskowitz & Dary Fiorentino, A Review of the Literature on the Effects of Low Doses of Alcohol on Driving related Skills. NHTSA, April Available at: Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 11 of 17

13 decreased by 14.8% following the reduction in illegal BAC. 50 The evidence for the effectiveness of lowering the illegal BAC limit resulted in the U.S. Congress providing a sanction that withheld a portion of a state s highway construction funds for states not adopting.08 BAC laws by October 1, On September 30, 2003, Pennsylvania signed into law Act 24, which lowered the state s legal BAC limit from.10 to.08. Today, all fifty states have.08 BAC legal limits. 1. Other States 2. Other Countries In 1988 Maine became the only state to lower the legal BAC to.05 for people with prior DUI convictions. After six years, the proportion of fatal crashes involving prior offenders in Maine decreased by 25%. 51 In 1995, Maine further strengthened its illegal BAC laws for repeat offenders by becoming the first state to adopt a zero tolerance law, making it illegal for those with prior DUI to drive after drinking any alcoholic beverage. An impact analysis in 2005 showed that DUI convicted drivers in fatal crashes as a percent of all drivers in fatal crashes in Maine decreased by 45% after 1988, and decreased still further after During the same time period, this percentage increased slightly in two comparison states. 52 There is an international trend toward lowering BAC limits, and many industrialized nations have reduced their illegal BAC limit to.05 or lower. The BAC illegal limit is.05 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Turkey. Other countries, including Norway, Russia and Sweden have a limit of.02 BAC and Poland has a limit of.03 BAC. The international trend toward lowering BAC limits has been encouraged by many studies demonstrating impairment at BAC levels lower than.08, and by noted improvement in public safety with lower illegal BAC limits. 53 Driving is a multitask 50 Fell, supra note Ralph Hingson &Timothy Heeren, Effects of Maine s 0.05% Legal Blood Alcohol Level for Drivers with DWI Convictions. 111 Pub. Health Rpts (Sept/Oct 1998). 52 R.K. Jones & C. Rodriguez Iglesias, Evaluation of Lower BAC Limits for Convicted OUI Offenders in Maine, NHTSA DOT HS Pub. No Fell, supra note 16. Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 12 of 17

14 operation that requires a driver to employ several skills simultaneously. Alcohol, even at low levels, affects many of the skills important to driving. Divided attention, reaction time, tracking ability, skilled psychomotor tasks (tasks combining steadiness or coordination skills with speed and accuracy tasks,) and control of eye movements, are all negatively affected by alcohol in concentrations of.05 or less. 54 The risk of being killed as a driver in a single vehicle crash is 6 to 17 times greater for drivers at BACs between.05 and.07 compared to drivers with BACs of.00, and the risk of being involved as a driver in a fatal crash is 4 to 10 times more likely at BACs between.05 and.07 than at a BAC of France lowered its BAC limit from.08 to.05 in The following year, in one province, alcohol related crashes fell from approximately 100 per year before the change to 64 the year following the change. 56 Queensland, Australia reduced their per se BAC limit to.05 in 1982 and experienced an 18% reduction in fatal collisions and a 14% reduction in serious collisions. 57 The.05 BAC limit in New South Wales has averted an estimated 605 serious, 75 fatal, and 296 single vehicle night collisions per year. 58 Sweden adopted a BAC limit of.05 in the 1950 s and further lowered its BAC limit to.02 in 1990, resulting in an approximate 10% decrease in fatal crashes and 12% decrease in severe personal injury crashes following the change to BAC limit Not all countries, however, have been successful in their attempt to lower the legal BAC limit below.08. Quebec recently rejected a proposal to lower their legal BAC limit to.05. There was strong opposition from the public, particularly from those in the hospitality industry who argued that the law was an intrusion on individual rights and would result in significant economic hardship on certain business owners Moskowitz, supra note Fell, supra note Id. 57 Id. 58 Id. 59 Id. 60 MADD Canada: Quebec Taking Step Backward in Fight Against Impaired Driving, Available at: canada quebec taking step backward in fight against impaired Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 13 of 17

15 3. Pennsylvania Although Pennsylvania lowered its per se illegal BAC to.08 in 2003, the current law considers BAC between.08 and.099 to be General Impairment, and penalties at this level of BAC are considerably less than penalties for BAC.10 and higher. Most importantly, for a first offense with a BAC in the general impairment range, offenders have no sanctions against their driver s license and are permitted to continue to drive without any restriction and without installation of an ignition interlock. The table below compares the sanctions for DUI with BAC.08 to.099 to those for BAC.10 to.159 in Pennsylvania. There is a third tier of penalties, not shown, for BAC.16 and higher. 61 Summary of Current Pennsylvania DUI Penalties General Impairment:.08 to.099 BAC Penalty First Offense Second offense Third Offense Sentence 6 mos. 5d 6 mos. 10d 2yrs. prison Probation prison Fine $300 $300 $2500 $500 $5000 License No action 12 mos. suspension 12 mos. suspension Ignition Interlock No 1 year 1 year High Rate:.10 to.159 BAC Penalty First Offense Second Offense Third Offense Sentence 2d 6mos. prison 30d 6 mos. 90d 5yrs. Prison prison Fine $1000 $5000 $1500 $2500 minimum License 12 mos. suspension 18 mos. suspension 18 mos. suspension Ignition Interlock No 1 year 1 year driving/ (last visited on May 8, 2011). 61 Pennsylvania.08 DUI legislation, available at: (last visited May 4, 2011). Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 14 of 17

16 There are no current studies evaluating the attitudes of United States or Pennsylvania residents toward lower illegal BAC limits. IV. Proposals for Pennsylvania Policy Makers As the empirical evidence shows, public safety can be improved, and injuries and death due to DUI can be diminished, by strengthening already existing laws in Pennsylvania. Ignition interlock laws are already in place in the State, however, their effectiveness can be increased by increasing the number of interlocks in use by offenders. This can be accomplished by either mandating interlock installation for all first time offenders and/or extending the period of installation for repeat offenders. Both approaches should be strongly considered by the state. Because an interlock program is already in place, there will be little additional cost to the state to enact these changes. Moreover, if the Drunk Driver Repeat Offender Law of 2011 passes, Pennsylvania risks losing federal highway funds if its ignition interlock law is not changed to mandate installation for first time offenders. Strong GDL laws not only decrease underage DUI, they also decrease underage drinking in general. Pennsylvania should pass House Bill 9 and should consider further strengthening its GDL laws to include restricted driving beginning at 9 or 10 PM. The public generally supports stricter GDL laws in Pennsylvania, and these changes will not result in any significant costs to the state. Lastly, Pennsylvania should consider strengthening its DUI laws by increasing the penalties for DUI offenders with BAC between.08% and.099% to be consistent with the penalties for offenders with BAC.10 to.159. There is no scientific evidence to support the distinction between the two levels of impairment. Pennsylvania should also consider adopting a BAC legal limit of.05% for anyone previously convicted of DUI. Based on strong scientific evidence that many skills required for driving are impaired at a BAC level of.05, and epidemiologic studies that demonstrate significant decreases in DUI crashes and fatalities in countries that lower the illegal BAC limit to.05, further study should be considered to determine the feasibility of changing the per se illegal BAC limit for all offenders to.05 in Pennsylvania. Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 15 of 17

17 Written by: Virginia Graziani Lowe 1719 N. Broad Street / Philadelphia, PA / / (215) 204 XXXX / The views expressed in this Policy Brief are those of the author(s) and Center staff and are not necessarily those of the trustees, officers, or other staff members of Temple University or the Temple School of Law. Copyright 2011 The Center for Health Law, Policy and Practice at Temple University, Beasley School of Law. This publication may be distributed freely for educational and research uses as long as this copyright notice is attached. No commercial use of this material may be made without express written permission. Center for Health Law, Policy & Practice. Beasley School of Law, Temple University Page 16 of 17

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