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​Impaired Driving

Image including glass of beer, bottle of pills, and car keys with text reading Be Safe PA. There's more than one way to be under the influence. Don't Drive Impaired.

PennDOT is reminding motorists to Be Safe PA — Don't Drive Impaired. One of the common misconceptions that impacts people when they are drinking is how much alcohol they are actually consuming. Whether it is a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5-ounce shot, they each constitute one drink.

Cost of a DUI

The costs associated with an impaired driving arrest can vary greatly depending on several factors, including blood alcohol content, location of arrest, and number of offenses. The effect on a driver's wallet starts the moment they are stopped by police. Here are a few expenses associated with a DUI.

  • Traffic fine: $300 - $10,000 depending on blood alcohol content and number of offenses
  • Towing vehicle: $175 - $500 depending on circumstances​​
  • Impound: $75-$175 per day
  • Legal fees: $2,000-$8,000 or more
  • Alcohol evaluation: $35-$100
  • Accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD): $100-$1,800
  • Education and treatment: $100-$1,000 or more
  • License restoration: $76 non-commercial, $184 commercial
  • Insurance premium: increase of about $1,000 a year or cancellation of policy

Apart from the financial aspects of a DUI arrest, there may also be social ramifications. Court appearances, community service requirements or jail time lead to lost time and lost wages — possibly job loss. A DUI conviction can also impede attempts to get a job, and cause embarrassment to your family.

For more information, check out Pennsylvania's DUI Law.

Underage DUI – Zero Tolerance

Pennsylvania's Zero Tolerance Law carries serious consequences for those under 21 who are convicted of driving with any amount of alcohol in their blood. For example, those under 21 who are convicted of driving under the influence with a .02 blood alcohol content, or greater, face severe penalties, including a 12-to 18-month license suspension, 48 hours to six months in jail, and fines from $500 to $5,000.

Impaired Driving Enforcement in Pennsylvania

Although alcohol-related fatalities account for nearly 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania, impaired driving enforcement covers more than just alcohol impairment. Law enforcement also works to identify motorists impaired by drugs and prescription medication, or some combination of these.

Pennsylvania continues to enhance its drug-impaired enforcement by training officers in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement and the Drug Recognition Expert programs.

Statewide police statistics show that there were 42,409 driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in 2022, a decrease from 44,531 in 2021. There were 29,678 charges for drugged driving filed in 2022, a decrease from 35,023 charges filed in 2021. This represents more than 35% of all charges filed under the DUI law.

Ignition Interlock System

Pennsylvania law requires the installation of an ignition interlock system on the vehicle of first-time and repeat DUI offenders with high blood alcohol levels and for individuals who receive an operating privilege suspension as a result of a chemical test refusal violation. 

These devices work by requiring the driver to blow into it before starting the vehicle. If the device detects alcohol, it will prevent the vehicle from starting. Ignition interlock devices will also prompt the driver to blow into the device at periods of time during the operation of the vehicle.

In 2022, there were more than 13,000 Pennsylvania residents with an installed ignition interlock device and over 90,000 vehicle ignition starts were prevented by the devices statewide.

View ignition interlock system Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) for more information.