A News Release by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) last week stated that a comprehensive update of the 2015 report Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for States was being released. The report provides data, research, and other information to help states and policymakers deal with drug-impaired driving. The report has updated data on drug use by drivers, new state laws, programs, drug-related crashes, and research from more than 30 other sources.
According to the News Release, drug-impaired driving has surpassed drunk driving in fatal accidents. In 2015, 43 percent of drivers killed had drugs in their system; this number exceeds the number of drunk drivers killed in accidents during that year.
Because of the continued rise in drug-impaired fatalities, the GHSA continues to provide the same advice to states: increase training to help law enforcement officers to arrest more drug-impaired drivers. To that end, Responsibility.org is providing grant funding to five more states in 2017 to implement new training and other programs to target drug-impaired driving. In addition to the grant programs, the GHSA also recommends that states form statewide task forces to help formulate and put a plan in place to deal with the increasing rate of drugged driving. In addition, improved data collection is also stressed as a priority in the fight against drugged driving.
Pennsylvania’s Fight on Drugged Driving
Pennsylvania law enforcement officers treat drugged driving as seriously as drunk driving, as does the judicial system. The penalties for a drugged driving conviction can be severe, depending on the factors involved in your case. As we move into the summer vacation season, I want to remind Pennsylvania drivers of a few important things:
- The only way to ensure you are not convicted of driving under the influence of drugs is never to take drugs and drive.
- However, if you are arrested for drugged driving, you are NOT guilty until the prosecutor does his or her job and proves each element of the law required for a DUI conviction. Contact our office immediately for an appointment!
- Law enforcement officers make mistakes. The officers nor the prosecutor will tell you about these mistakes. You MUST retain a drugged driving attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
- Exercise your right to remain silent except for requesting that you call your attorney (800-401-2066 our office line). Be clear that you want to speak with your attorney before answering any questions.
- Understand that as we enter the summer season, beginning with Memorial Day weekend and running through Labor Day weekend, law enforcement officials will step up DUI enforcement throughout the state, especially over holiday weekends. You may believe you can drive home without getting caught for DUI, but you are likely to be wrong. Don’t get behind the wheel of a vehicle — call for a ride home.
Begin convicted of drugged driving or drunk driving can have long-term negative consequences on your life far beyond a fine or time in jail. Don’t let the police or a prosecutor convince you it is better for you to “talk” to them or “take a plea” without discussing your case with an attorney. It is always in your best interest to consult with an attorney before you accept a plea deal or provide a statement to the police or the prosecutor.
Call an Experienced Erie Drugged Driving Attorney
The DUI defense attorneys at The Travis Law Firm have extensive experience representing clients on drunk and drugged driving charges. Call our office toll-free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our Erie DUI defense attorneys.