Proposed Legislation to Make Ignition Interlock Required for All DUI Convictions
In Pennsylvania, ignition interlock devices are required for repeat offenders of DUI laws. First time offenders are generally protected from the expense of an ignition interlock device, a mechanism installed into cars that requires the driver to blow a legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in order to operate the vehicle. This may soon change.
Pennsylvania State Senator John Rafferty Jr., a Republican representing Collegeville, has proposed Senate Bill 1036 which would require not only all repeat offenders, but also all first-time offenders with a BAC of 0.10 or greater to install ignition interlocks.
According to the proponents of this bill, current legislation has a lot of holes that allow people to continue to drive while intoxicated, even after a previous arrest. The current DUI laws were passed in 2003, and many argue that they are outdated. By adjusting the laws this year, new technology advances related to these devices could be included.
Support For Proposed Bill Expanding Requirements for Ignition Interlock
Senate Bill 1036 has gained support from some powerful non-profits and other third parties in Pennsylvania. This has sparked a major legislative push to change Pennsylvania law to require the installation of ignition interlock devices for first-time DUI offenses.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), in particular, has come out strongly in support of the proposed legislation. However, MADD’s director of state government affairs Frank Harris has expressed serious concerns that the bill may be pushed back or dropped due to political bickering. MADD has been pushing for an expansion of the use of these devices in Pennsylvania and nationally for the past decade as a part of its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving begun in 2006.
Passing this bill would represent a significant victory for them. “As we continue to sound the drumbeat that high-visibility enforcement and ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers are the best ways to stop drunk driving, it is important to recognize that this issue continues to be a problem across the nation,” said Jan Withers, national president of MADD.
The Pennsylvania representatives supporting this bill hope that closing loopholes in DUI laws will reduce drunk driving in general, but especially by those who have already broken the law once before. In addition to applying only to habitual offenders, ignition interlocks typically aren’t installed in Pennsylvania until the driver’s license suspension has ended. There currently is little enacted to prevent habitual offenders from driving drunk while they have a suspended license before the device has been installed.
If this law passes, the consequences for a first-time DUI offense will be even more serious than under current legislation. It will become that much more important to have an expert attorney on your side to fight for your rights. If you are ever arrested for a DUI, contact Pittsburgh DUI lawyer Mike Worgul today for a free consultation on your case. Find out what we can do to help.