Pennsylvania Senate Votes for Ignition Interlocks for First DUI Offenders
It’s still a long way from becoming a law, but Pennsylvania is on the right track. Recently the State Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 290, which would allow first DUI offenders to be eligible for an ignition interlock immediately when their driving privileges have been suspended. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
The bill mirrors many others that have passed in recent years across the country. Currently 25 states have all-offender ignition interlock laws, Texas being the most recent state to make the change.
Why do first offenders get this treatment? Studies show that license suspensions on their own are not a reliable way to stop people from drinking and driving. Over half of suspended drivers are on the road at some point, unlicensed, uninsured, and possibly drunk.
An ignition interlock device is the only way to ensure that a vehicle is not being operated by a drunk driver.
The bill was sponsored by Senator John Rafferty (R-Berks/Chester/Montgomery). It now goes to the House, who will decide its fate. If luck holds out, Pennsylvania will become the 26th state to require all drunk drivers to install ignition interlocks. That will mean that a majority of US states embraces this life-saving technology.
Fingers crossed for Pennsylvania. And thanks are due to the State Senate for their unanimous approval of a very wise piece of legislation.