Dei Lynam: Welcome to Pennsylvania Law TV. Today, we will be talking about drunk driving. My guest is attorney Dave Miller and he’s going to talk with us about this topic. Dave, thanks for being here today.
Dave Miller: Thank you for having me.
Dei Lynam: Is there a difference between drunk driving and driving while impaired, or DUI vs DWI?
Dave Miller: There is. It’s really a matter of the substances that are doing the impairing. Drunk driving, as most people have come to realize, is driving while under the influence of alcohol. Driving while impaired, generally, is considered operating a vehicle impaired by illegal drugs or prescription medications.
Dei Lynam: Does the impaired driver have to be driving a car? Can an individual be arrested for impaired driving if they are in a non-traditional vehicle?
Dave Miller: Yes. One of the more unique aspects of Pennsylvania DUI law is that an individual that’s operation a bicycle while under the influence can be arrested for, it’s actually called BUI, biking under the influence. Most people might be shocked to hear that the penalties for biking under the influence are the exact same as driving a vehicle under the influence. My suggestion is, do not do either. Find a ride home. Have a designated driver. Or, use a ride sharing company that are very prevalent these days. Save yourself a lot of hassle and a lot of money.
Dei Lynam: What can drivers do proactively to protect themselves from drunk or impaired drivers on the road?
Dave Miller: The most important thing is to be aware. As you’re driving down the road, know what’s going on around you. Impaired driver, sometimes they can hide it pretty well, but there’s lots of times where they’re swerving in and out, driving erratically. My suggestion is to distance yourself from that vehicle as best as you can, even if it requires you pulling over and allowing that vehicle to pass. More times than not, that driver’s not going to give too much interest in your well-being. They’re more worried about where they’re getting to and it’s in your best interest to get out of their way.
Dei Lynam: If someone is in an accident caused by a drunk or impaired driver, how can a lawyer be of assistance?
Dave Miller: Well, along with everything else a lawyer would do in the case of an automobile crash, from stepping in from day one to help out with dealing with insurance companies through paperwork, through making sure bills are getting paid properly, to helping out with legal analysis. An attorney can also be in touch with the district attorney’s office that might be prosecuting the drunk driver, or the impaired driver, and may be able to get some restitution for the damages sustained. It’s another way of seeking to get full recovery for the damages that the irresponsible drunk driver has caused for our client.
Dei Lynam: Dave, if someone has specific questions, how can they reach your office?
Dave Miller: They can reach us two ways. One is on the web at www.oconnorlaw.com. They can also reach us by phone at 1-800-518-4LAW.
Dei Lynam: Dave, thank you for your time today.
Dave Miller: Thank you.
Dei Lynam: Until next time, this is Dei Lynam for Pennsylvania Law TV.