Unlike many states in the country, first-time DUI offenders in Pennsylvania face no mandatory license suspension. Victims of drunk driving accidents and their families have been urging Pennsylvania lawmakers to increase the penalties for DUIs to meet national standards. Under national DUI standards, most first-time DUI offenders are subject to mandatory driver’s license suspension requirements. And in many states, in order to avoid suspension, drivers are required to use an ignition-interlock device. The device requires drivers to submit to a breathalyzer test each and every time they get behind the wheel. The car will not start if the device records a blood alcohol level higher than the legal limit.
For families who have lost a loved one due to a drunk driver or for those whose lives have been shattered by another person’s poor decisions, there are legal remedies to punish drunk drivers. Civil laws allow families and victims to seek compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, long-term care expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A personal injury lawyer like Jack Goodrich with Goodrich & Associates, P.C. in Pittsburgh who focuses in civil law can assist families and victims in getting the recovery and compensation they deserve.
In Pennsylvania, under current DUI laws and sentencing guides, drunk drivers only face mandatory license suspensions if they commit their second DUI in 10 years. Research on DUI offenders and their drinking patterns suggests that even first-time DUI offenders may have driven drunk many times prior to a first-conviction. Currently, alcohol-related deaths account for 28% of all the traffic-related deaths in Pennsylvania in 2014. 39 states currently use ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders. The results of using these devices are often dramatic, reducing drunk driving injuries and deaths by as much as 20% and 50% in some cases. MADD promotes the use of ignition interlock devices. The device allows DUI offenders the ability to keep their license while also ensuring that these offenders only drive when sober.
Pennsylvania families who have been affected by DUI drivers have created a new advocacy organization, PA Parents Against Drunk Driving. The organization is currently petitioning lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 290, which would require drivers convicted of DUIs to use ignition interlock devices.
Unfortunately, for families who want justice, lawmakers have been slow to pass tougher DUI laws in Pennsylvania. Families who want to seek justice and raise awareness for DUI victims, wrongful deaths, and personal injuries, often have to seek justice in civil courts.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a drunk driver, an injury lawyer in Pittsburgh and Washington, Pennsylvania may be able to assist you in getting the justice you deserve. Seeking civil recovery for your losses sends a strong message to DUI drivers and to those who get behind the wheel after drinking: drinking and driving comes with serious penalties. Victims of drunk drivers should not have to shoulder their medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, and the burden of lost wages alone. A personal injury lawyer skilled in handling car accident claims can help. Visit www.goodrichpc.com today or call 412-261-4663.