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Pennsylvania Legislature Passes Ignition Interlock Bill

In an effort to address Pennsylvania’s drunk driving problem, the state Senate approved a bill that will require DUI offenders whose blood alcohol concentration exceeded 0.10 to install ignition interlocks in their vehicles. The bill passed unanimously 50-0, and will proceed to the House, where it is expected to be approved. 

While ignition interlocks have been in use for some time with repeat DUI offenders, the new bill strengthens the law to apply to first-time offenders as well. If the measure is signed into law, Pennsylvania will become the 32nd state to mandate the use of ignition interlocks for first-time offenders. 

Ignition interlock devices work by requiring the driver to blow into the device before the car can be started. If there is alcohol on the driver’s breath, the car will not start. Among the safeguards some versions of the devices provide are rolling re-tests to prevent others from assisting in starting the car, as well as a mechanism to detect not just the breath but the humming of the driver to prevent the use of tools intended to trick the device. 

Drunk driving convictions can lead to serious penalties, including jail time, fines and driving restrictions. Ignition interlock devices provide a useful middle ground, allowing offenders to continue to drive, which allows them to get to work, transport children and other family members and keep important legal and medical appointments, all without jeopardizing the safety of themselves and others. They can also save money, as they may allow the offender to avoid the high fines associated with a DUI conviction. 

Beating a DUI charge is about to get harder in Pennsylvania. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, you should seek legal representation from an experienced Berks County criminal defense attorney. The Law Office of David R. Eshelman is well equipped to handle DUI cases, and will fight on your behalf while providing the support you need.

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