Pennsylvania’s Path to Increasing Ignition Interlock Devices

Pennsylvania house passes ignition interlock expansionJust when you thought the season for ignition interlock expansion was in recess, along comes Pennsylvania to wrap up 2016 with new momentum for safer streets. Both the Pennsylvania House and Senate just passed a new bill to get ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of most drunk drivers in the state, including many first-offense DUI offenders. Once Governor Wolf signs the bill, the new law will be in effect in 15 months and we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief.

This bill places more first-time DUI offenders back in the driver’s seat, as long as there is an ignition interlock installed. Currently, the devices are only mandated for DUI offenders with more than one conviction, or those with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of their arrest. The new law will mandate the devices for first-time offenders with a BAC between .10 and .15 percent, about 90 percent of the state’s DUI offenders. A first-time DUI offender who fits the criteria for an interlock would have to keep the device installed for one year, unless they’ve already had another alcohol-related violation on their record.

Pennsylvania joins five other states that have moved forward with new ignition interlock legislation this year, including Maryland, Georgia, Vermont, Minnesota and California. Maryland recently passed its all-offender ignition interlock law, Noah’s Law, while the other states are still considering their respective bills or gathering information for the next session.

Making a commitment to sober driving usually starts with the person behind the wheel. When that commitment is missing, changes need to be made in order to keep the streets safe. Pennsylvania may be headed directly down the road to much safer streets, showing that a commitment to sober roads can be put in the hands of legislators, with a happy ending to another season of safety on the streets.

New PA Ignition Interlock Laws

PennsylvaniaPennsylvania is one of many states in the country that has mandatory ignition interlock requirements, but only for those who have been convicted of driving under the influence more than once. According to newsworks, however, some proposed legislation may change that state’s stance on a few key points for convicted drunk drivers. Not only could Pennsylvania start requiring the IID installation for all first-time offenders, but, in order to make sure an offender does not resume drinking and driving after the IID is removed, he or she may have to have a “clean” testing record or continue to rely on the device for behavior management. Read more here: Can a new Pa. law reduce repeat drunken-driving offenses?

New Pennsylvania Ignition Interlock Law?

PennsylvaniaKeeping drunk drivers off the streets is a priority of legislators across the country, especially in states that are slower to include tough consequences for those who could potentially injure or kill others while driving drunk. According to Daily Times Politics, Pennsylvania State Senator John Rafferty has introduced a new bill that will require all convicted DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. Rafferty cites success in states where the devices are saving lives, such as Oregon and Arizona, when included in the penalties for drunk driving. Read more here: Chesco senator proposes ignition interlocks for DUI offenders

Addressing Drunk Driving in PA

PennsylvaniaDrunk driving is a problem across the country, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars, and too many people their lives. Pennsylvania is looking at the benefits of increasing the penalties for driving while under the influence of alcohol, including implementing an ignition interlock program. According to The Morning Call, the debate in Pennsylvania is on-going, with the essential argument about personal rights over public safety, when it comes to drinking and driving. With mandated ignition interlock devices, while saving lives, there is a concern that the government is going too far in removing personal choices. Read more here: Ignition interlocks are long overdue in Pennsylvania

Ignition Interlocks or 24/7 Monitoring?

As legislation is introduced in Pennsylvania for mandatory ignition interlock installations for first-time DUI offenders, others see this step as not enough to stop the problem of drunk drivers. An editorial on The Patriot-News by Judge John S. Kennedy suggests that while IIDs are effective against repeat offenders, his time on the bench has taught him that the devices are often ignored, and that people who want to drive after drinking will find a way. Kennedy says that another option to address the problem may be setting up a 24/7 alcohol monitoring program in the state. Read more here: In DUI cases, ignition interlocks are fine, but here’s an even better safety measure: As I See It

Mandatory Ignition Interlocks in PA?

With 20 states currently requiring the installation of ignition interlock devices on vehicles owned by first-time convicted DUI/DWI offenders, the state of Pennsylvania may be next in line to require these life-saving devices. WHTM reports that a rally was held at the Capitol to show support for a mandatory ignition installation device penalty for all people who are convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol. This bill, Senate Bill 1036, is finding support in the state, even as some are not so sure that it doesn’t discriminate against those who make a one-time bad decision. Read more here: Ignition interlocks for first-time DUI offenders pushed at Capitol

No Private Alcohol Sales in PA

The privatization of liquor sales in Pennsylvania is under fire by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D). The Sacramento Bee reports that recent efforts by Pennsylvania Governor Corbett to dismantle the state’s liquor control board have caused concerns for both M.A.D.D. and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Both organizations cite the risks involved with privatization, focused on a reduction in verifying the age of a person attempting to purchase alcohol.  This move could, according to M.A.D.D. and the CDC, will put more lives at risk and undermine efforts to reduce the rates of underage drinking throughout the state. Read more here:  MADD Announces Opposition To Privatization