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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 11, 2019 12:07 PM
From: Representative Frank A. Farry
To: All House members
Subject: DUI Homicide Sentence Enhancement (Prior HB 1680)
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation to add a sentencing enhancement to the offense of DUI Homicide by Vehicle. It would apply, at the discretion of the sentencing court, where the driver had either alcohol and a controlled substance, or multiple controlled substances in his system.

Drugged driving has become a growing problem in our country and in this Commonwealth. The National Highway Safety Administration reports that 20 percent of drivers who were tested for DUI in 2014 also had drugs in their system. A survey of college students found that one in six who had access to a car had driven under the influence of a drug other than alcohol at least once in the past year. Deaths in which drugged driving was a factor increased by 9.3 percent in 2015.[1] With the opioid crisis and trend toward legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana, many experts and researchers only expect this trend to continue.

It is difficult to determine how specific drugs affect driving because people tend to mix various substances, including alcohol. But we do know that even small amounts of some drugs can have a measurable effect. I believe driving under the influence of multiple substances represents an increased level of recklessness that is not necessarily reflected in the current sentencing scheme. That is why I am asking you to join me in supporting this legislation.

[1] Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Introduced as HB1302