Volpe's Views: DUI
Drunken-driving crashes in Pennsylvania decreased 4.7 percent between 2013 and 2017, the most recent years for statistics. In that time, deaths related to drunken-driving crashes dropped 14 percent to 333.
Most crashes occur on holidays. In the three-day Memorial Day weekend, PennDOT says, 2,895 crashes with 39 deaths occurred on state roads in 2017.
The Senate voted 45 to four to stiffen penalties for DUI further. Currently, a drunk driver who kills someone faces a three-year mandatory sentence. The recently-passed bill raises that mandatory sentence to five years in prison. Repeat offenders, under the bill, would face a third-degree felony.
The bill's sponsor, John Rafferty of Montgomery County, says about one- third of all drivers convicted of DUI are repeat offenders.
Pennsylvania has taken tremendous steps toward alcohol enforcement since the alcohol limit was reduced to .08 from .10 and increasing penalties even further will save more lives. The House should follow the Senate's lead in tightening penalties to make us even safer.