In Pennsylvania, the farther you live from a major city, the more likely you are to die in a DUI-related crash.
Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, and Allegheny Counties all experienced decreases in DUI fatalities from 2012 to 2017, a consumer research firm found, while other, more rural counties, such as Monroe, Lackawanna, and Centre, have seen increases over the same time period.
“Pennsylvania has seen a decrease in DUI fatalities across the state in recent years; 2016 to 2017 alone showed a 17 percent decline,” the report stated.
According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, 293 people died in alcohol-related crashes statewide in 2017.
In rural Pennsylvania, bars and restaurants are often condensed in small downtown areas, with farms and homes spreading out along roads that are often dark and dangerous. With bad internet and cell connection in large swaths of the state, connecting to ride-share services isn’t easy.
A 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 44.4 percent of drivers and passengers were not buckled in at the time of a fatal crash in urban counties, compared with 61.3 percent in rural counties. Those numbers meant America’s most rural counties had motor-vehicle death rates “three to 10 times higher than those in the most urban counties.”
Last year, The Inquirer reported on Philadelphia’s decrease in DUI arrests, with Uber saying it was a direct result of its proliferation in the city. Police seemed to agree, but researchers said that it was too soon to tell and that other factors, such as a decrease in alcohol use among young people, could also be at play.
The DUI research done by ValuePenguin.com found that Susquehanna County, on the New York border in Northeast Pennsylvania, had the highest fatality rate per 100,000 residents at 7.69. Indiana, Perry, and Tioga Counties followed.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation allocates $4.5 million a year toward enforcement against impaired driving, a spokesperson said. That money is distributed by investigating data and trends, and if certain areas are experiencing upticks, more funds are sent to those areas.