HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania State Police announced Thursday that troopers made 18,412 driving under the influence arrests in 2020, which reflects a one percent decrease from the total number of DUI arrests (22,139) in 2019.
In addition, troopers investigated 4,157 DUI-related crashes in 2020, down from 4,692 in 2019.
“The Pennsylvania State Police has a zero-tolerance approach toward driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. “Impaired driving is a serious crime that continues to impact our roadways. Troopers were tasked with additional duties during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they continued to work with our law enforcement partners to keep our roadways safe through a combination of DUI education and enforcement.”
Locally, Troop E, which covers Crawford, Erie, Venango and Warren Counties, saw its DUI arrests decrease from 1,175 in 2019 to 1,018 in 2020. DUI-related crash investigations decreased from 311 to 241.
In Pennsylvania, a driver is guilty of DUI if they are impaired by any substance. 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 1,192 drug influence evaluations in 2020.
A list of 2020 state police DUI arrest totals, DUI crash investigations, and DRE drug influence evaluations broken down by troop is available here. These figures reflect information from the Pennsylvania State Police and do not include information from other law enforcement agencies in the commonwealth.
State police community services officers regularly speak about DUI prevention and other traffic safety topics at schools, community events, and businesses. Their presentations are offered at no charge and may be requested by contacting your local state police station.
“PSP Community Services Officers were tasked with inventing new ways to educate audiences during the pandemic,” said Colonel Evanchick. “The troopers utilized virtual classrooms and completed over 1,300 traffic safety presentations in 2020 for a variety of audiences to help prevent DUI with age-appropriate education.”
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, license suspension, and prison time.