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Legislation would help DUI victims receive compensation

Pennsylvania has come a long way in the fight against drunk driving. Like the rest of the nation, drunk driving laws at one time were insubstantial and drivers often got behind the wheel intoxicated. This had horrific impact on highway fatalities in the state. In the US, much of the reduction in overall traffic fatalities has been due to the increased awareness of the dangers of drunk driving, stricter laws and the aggressive enforcement of those laws.

At one time, there were more than 50,000 highway fatalities in the U.S. While those numbers have fallen to the low 30,000 range, alcohol-related fatalities still account for more that 10,000 of that total. In spite of all that progress, in Pennsylvania in 2013, there were still more than 11,000 alcohol-related crashes. 

In addition to those crashes, which leave thousands of motorists injured, 32 percent of all traffic deaths in Pennsylvania are alcohol-related. Obviously, we still have work to do in reducing the number of drunk driving crashes throughout the state.

With all of these drunk driving accidents, it is important to ensure that victims of these crashes can obtain full compensation for their injuries and damage to their vehicle. A bill has been introduced that would help victims when they are involved in a crash where the drunk driver dies.

Currently, they cannot obtain full tort coverage, even if the blood test of the deceased driver indicates they were intoxicated at the time of the crash. If the drunk driver had lived and been convicted, they would have been able to receive full tort coverage.

This bill will fix this imbalance, which can help those injured recover from these unnecessary and tragic crashes.

Abc27.com, "Pa. bill would close loophole in DUI law," Myles Snyder, February 19, 2015

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