Pennsylvania Ignition Interlock And DUI Laws

ignition interlock The state of Pennsylvania is one of the few states who have not passed an all offender ignition interlock law, but lawmakers in the state have called for one and hope to see it put on the books sometime this year. It won’t be a moment too soon either – according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), between 2012 and 2013 there was only a 9.6% decrease in the number of Pennsylvania traffic deaths, and 368 of those fatalities were alcohol-related crashes.

An all offender ignition interlock law would work in conjunction with other driving under the influence (DUI) penalties in Pennsylvania. The state currently has a tiered blood alcohol concentration (BAC) penalty system, and how harsh your penalties are will be dependent on how intoxicated you were at the time of arrest.

At this time, a first DUI offender in Pennsylvania will receive the following penalties if their BAC is between .08-.99:

  • $300 fine
  • Six months probation

If the first offender has a BAC between .10 – .159, they will receive:

  • Between two days up to six months in prison
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • 12 month driver’s license suspension
  • If the court allows it, offender will receive a restricted driver’s license after 60 days and may be required to drive with an ignition interlock device

For first offenders with BAC of .16 or greater, the following applies:

  • 3 day up to 6 months in jail
  • Fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000
  • 12 month suspension from driving
  • If the court allows, the offender will receive a restricted driver’s license after 60 days and may be required to drive with an ignition interlock device.

Pennsylvania only requires mandatory ignition interlock programs for convicted drivers who receive a DUI two or more times. A new all offender ignition interlock law will change that, and it may be just the boost Pennsylvania needs to see a real reduction in alcohol-related deaths.

Pennsylvania Ready To Require Ignition Interlock Devices For 1st DUIs

ignition interlock In September of 2003, the state of Pennsylvania signed Act 24, a bill that lowered the legal alcohol limit from .10 to .08. Act 24 also created a tiered approach to curbing driving under the influence (DUI) violations and was the first time Pennsylvania required ignition interlock devices for repeat offenders. Since that time Pennsylvania has seen a substantial drop in alcohol-related fatalities, and now they’re overhauling their DUI laws again.

This past week, the Pennsylvania Senate became the 32nd state requiring first-time DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices. The bill was approved by a 50-0 vote, and is expected to clear through the House before the current session ends. Once official, anyone convicted of DUI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .10 will be required to have their vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device.

Ignition interlocks have been a core part of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Campaign to End Drunk Driving, and the step Pennsylvania is taking has MADDs’s full approval. Ignition interlock devices have been found to be more effective than a driver’s license suspension, and MADD has published statistics stating that 50 to 75% of drunk drivers will continue to drive without a license anyway. With an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, if they’ve made the choice to drink, they won’t be able to start the engine.

Ignition interlocks reduce the likelihood that DUI offenders will offend again by up to 67%, and in the case of first offenders, having an interlock device is the best way to get back on the road and driving again after you’ve made a careless mistake. That means all the fall out from the loss of a driver’s license, including the potential to lose your job, won’t happen for DUI offenders in Pennsylvania.

If the Pennsylvania Senate passes the bill, the state will be taking a giant leap forward in improving road safety. You can find more information on ignition interlock devices in Pennsylvania by visiting Guardian Interlock’s Pennsylvania state page.

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