First DUI Included in Ignition Interlock Law In Pennsylvania
In May of this year, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed the Ignition Interlock Law; however, the majority of the law does not take effect until August 2017. The law was enacted in an attempt to improve safety on the roadways and decrease alcohol-related crashes and fatalities.
First-Time Offenders Included in Ignition Interlock Law
Pennsylvania has historically required ignition interlock devices for repeat drunk drivers; however, the new law requires some first-time offenders to install and use the devices as well. If a first-time offender has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.10 percent or higher, they may be required to use an ignition interlock device for at least one year.
Pennsylvania law also provides for individuals who commit second and subsequent DUI violations as well as people who refuse chemical testing to apply for an ignition interlock device once a portion of their license suspension has been served.
How Do Ignition Interlock Devices Work?
An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer that is installed in motor vehicles to prevent individuals from being able to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The device requires drivers to blow into it before the vehicle will start. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start. The device may also require drivers to test at periodic times while they are operating the vehicle.
The devices can be costly to install and maintain. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation estimates that they can cost as much as $1,000 per system, and each vehicle owned would require installation.
Concerns Regarding Ignition Interlock Devices
Some opponents of ignition interlock devices point out that they have faults. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established standards for these devices, they are not always accurate and reliable.
Typically, they must be serviced every 60 days. The device requires more frequent service if a violation is detected. If it is not serviced on time, it will go into lockout mode and the vehicle will not start.
Additionally, certain medications, mouthwash, and health conditions can result in an inaccurate reading. If you have recently used an alcohol-based mouthwash, the device may restrict driving until alcohol is no longer detected. These concerns are significant and may prevent people from driving when they have done nothing wrong.
How Our DUI Defense Attorneys Can Help You
Although ignition interlock devices may be geared to prevent traffic crashes and fatalities, they can be costly and inaccurate. If you have been charged with a DUI, you need the representation of our experienced DUI defense attorneys. We will work to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today at (412) 281-2146