Philadelphia is jam-packed with colleges and universities—which is part of what makes Philly uniquely Philly. College students and good sense, however, don’t always go hand-in-hand. When you find yourself near one of our fine city’s beautiful campuses, it is always wise to beware of drunk drivers.
College Campuses and Drinking
It should come as no surprise that college students and drinking just seem to go together. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that nearly 60 percent of college students between the ages of 18 and 22 drank alcohol within a month of their studies beginning and that nearly 66 percent binge drank within that time frame. That’s a lot of drinking—and car accidents can be a serious consequence.
Everyone understands by now that getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol is a dangerous proposition. Alcohol consumption, however, inhibits impulse control, and because college students are a young population, they’re already at an impulse-control disadvantage. When you’re near a Philadelphia college campus, keep this in mind—you could very well share the road with impaired drivers.
Most college students aren’t old enough to drink legally. In Pennsylvania, the legal limit for drivers who are 21 and older is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent. Because drivers younger than 21 accounts for a disproportionately high number of DUI-related fatalities, drivers who are younger than 21 are held to a BAC limit of 0.02 percent. This amounts to Pennsylvania adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward underage drinking and driving. In fact, even one drink will set a driver who is under the legal drinking age over this limit.
Pennsylvania’s Three-Tiered DUI Law
Pennsylvania takes a three-tiered approach to DUI charges:
DUI with General Impairment
This classification applies when non-commercial motorists of legal drinking age with a BAC between 0.08 percent and 0.099 percent are arrested for DUI. Furthermore, even if a driver’s BAC doesn’t reach the minimum BAC threshold, that driver can be charged with general impairment if there is enough evidence to demonstrate that he imbibed an amount of alcohol that kept him from safely operating a vehicle.
DUI with High Impairment
This classification applies when non-commercial drivers are arrested for DUI with a BAC of between 0.10 percent and 0.159 percent. Underaged drivers arrested with a BAC between 0.02 percent and 0.159 percent will also be charged with DUI with High Impairment.
DUI with Highest Impairment
This classification applies when a non-commercial driver of any age is arrested for DUI with a BAC higher than 0.16 percent. This categorization also applies to those motorists found under the influence of drugs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares some sobering statistics from 2015 that relate to impaired drivers:
- Alcohol-related car accidents accounted for a full 29 percent of all deadly traffic accidents.
- Alcohol plays a role in a third of teenage auto fatalities.
- Sixteen percent of all car crashes involved drivers who were impaired by drugs other than alcohol.
The Statistics for College Students
Many college students either have a car or have access to a car while on campus. This not only amplifies traffic congestion around campuses but also contributes to increased accidents throughout the school year. For these younger drivers, the DUI statistics are even more startling:
- Drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 with a BAC of 0.08 percent are 17 times more likely to die in an accident than if they hadn’t been drinking.
- In 2010, one in five young drivers who were involved in fatal traffic accidents had some alcohol in their systems.
- Nearly 81 percent of these young drivers had a BAC above the adult legal limit.
If You’ve Been Injured by an Impaired Driver, Contact an Experienced Philadelphia Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, you know how harrowing that can be. Personal injury claims involving impaired drivers are complicated—and if you’ve been injured, you need an experienced Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, personal injury attorney. The Levin Firm is here to help. We have the knowledge, experience, and dedication to fight for the best resolution of your claim. Please contact or call us at (215) 825.5183 today.