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Push for new laws targeting drunk driving in Pennsylvania

Proposed legislation would increase the penalties for certain individuals responsible for drunk driving accidents in Pennsylvania.

Drunk drivers are responsible for serious auto accidents that result in injuries and fatalities in Pennsylvania and across the country every day. Unfortunately, the penalties for motorists who engage in such hazardous behavior are not always proportionate to the harm caused.

Currently, activists and legislators in Pennsylvania are seeking to resolve that problem.

For instance, the House Judiciary Committee in Pennsylvania recently passed House Bill 1733 with a unanimous vote. If passed into law, the bill would provide for more severe penalties for individuals who cause a fatality in a drunk driving collision, particularly if they have previously been convicted of driving under the influence.

In addition, activists are attempting to change a Pennsylvania law that imposes disproportionate penalties for those who cause a drunk driving accident that results in a fatality and those who leave the scene following such an accident. Currently, the penalties are lower for those who leave the scene of an accident than those who cause a drunk driving accident that results in a fatality. Consequently, some motorists in Pennsylvania have fled the scene of an accident in an effort to avoid the harsher penalties associated with a DUI conviction.

Those involved in fighting for this new legislation are hopeful that these changes could help reduce the frequency of drunk driving collisions that lead to injuries and fatalities across Pennsylvania.

Drunk driving accidents frequently lead to fatalities

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, over 400 people in Pennsylvania lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in 2012. In total, those fatalities accounted for 31 percent of all deaths caused by traffic collisions that year - up 2.5 percent from the year prior.

In Pennsylvania, there were almost 12,000 auto accidents caused by drunk drivers, which led to over 8,700 people suffering personal injuries in 2012.

As in Pennsylvania, approximately 31 percent of all traffic fatalities are caused by drunk drivers across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On a daily basis, around 30 people are killed as a result of a drunk driving collision in the U.S.

When someone is injured in a collision caused by a drunk driver or when someone loses a loved one in such an accident, he or she may have the ability to recover financially as a result of the harm suffered. In such situations, it is a good idea to seek the counsel of a qualified personal injury attorney, who will take steps to safeguard the injured party's interests.

Keywords: drunk driving, Pennsylvania