Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) announced today that troopers made 19,963 driving-under-the-influence (DUI) arrests in 2017, which reflects a 1 percent increase from the total number of DUI arrests (19,518) in 2016.
In Pennsylvania, a driver may be arrested for DUI if they are impaired by any substance, including alcohol, prescription or over-the-counter medication, and illicit drugs. While alcohol is most commonly associated with driving under the influence, troopers certified as drug recognition experts (DREs) receive specialized training to identify the physiological signs of impairment caused by a wide range of controlled substances. State police DREs conducted 631 drug influence evaluations in 2017.
“Driving under the influence – regardless of the method of impairment – is a serious crime that puts the lives of drivers, passengers, and first responders at risk every day,” said Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick, Acting Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. “The consequences of a DUI conviction are long-lasting, and the results of a DUI-related crash can be devastating.”
Troopers investigated 5,180 DUI-related crashes in 2017, up from 4,520 the previous year. These statistics cover only those arrests and crashes investigated by PSP and do not include information from other law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania. A complete list of 2017 state police DUI arrest totals, DUI crash investigations, and DRE drug influence evaluations broken down by troop is available here.
In addition to DUI enforcement, the department takes a proactive approach to traffic safety through education. In 2017, troopers conducted 3,526 driver education presentations at schools, community organizations, and businesses throughout the commonwealth. The presentations are offered at no charge and may be requested by contacting your local state police barracks.
“Keeping Pennsylvania roads safe is a primary function of the state police,” said Lieutenant Colonel Evanchick. “There is absolutely no excuse for operating a vehicle while impaired, which is why the department has zero tolerance toward DUI.”
Penalties for a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania are based on several factors, including an individual’s criminal history, blood alcohol content level, and whether injuries or property damage occurred. Potential consequences include thousands of dollars in fines, a license suspension, and prison time.