Ask most people in Pennsylvania who have been arrested for driving while under the influence and it is unlikely that they would say that the state is easy on those charged with DUIs. However, that is exactly what some are drawing as a conclusion from a study recently published by WalletHub.

The study compared the approach to drunk driving across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Factors evaluated included both preventative and punitive actions taken by each entity. Preventative measures included the use of ignition interlock devices, enforcement checkpoints and the financial impact of a DUI on automotive insurance. Punitive measures included charge classification, fines and incarceration times.

South Dakota was ranked as the most lenient of all followed by Washington D.C., North Dakota and Pennsylvania in that order. That means 47 other states were identified as stricter about drunk driving than Pennsylvania. However, it is important to compare the results of this study with other data. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average number of people killed in drunk driving accidents in Arizona is greater than in Pennsylvania. Arizona was ranked as the strictest of all states against DUIs.

The above-referenced report highlights a reality that many do not always consider – extreme penalties are not always the best way to ensuring people are safe. That, however, is not stopping some in Pennsylvania from pushing for harsher penalties for people convicted of drunk driving. Anyone who has been arrested for a DUI may want to get help from an attorney.


Source: The Sentinel, “Strict laws may not mean better outcomes for DUIs,” Joshua Vaughn, August 17, 2016