On Wednesday, May 18th, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a new law requiring all convicted drunk drivers with a BAC of .10 or higher to use an ignition interlock system in their car for a year. Before this law, only those with multiple DUI convictions were required to use these systems.
Ignition interlock systems require a driver to give a breath sample, very similar to a breathalyzer test, before starting the engine of their car. If the result of this breath sample is a higher BAC than the pre-programmed level allows, then the ignition interlock system prevents the car from being started. A recent report by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimated that these ignition interlock systems have prevented more than 1.77 million drunk driving attempts throughout the country since state laws have started requiring them for people convicted of DUI. Around 78,210 drunk driving attempts have been prevented in Pennsylvania alone, and this number will likely rise significantly now that first-time offenders will also be required to use the systems. State Senator John Rafferty, who is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, explained that “[t]he enactment of [the law] is smart on crime and will strengthen our DUI laws, save lives and place offenders in a controlled driving environment.”
*Update – Governor Wolfe signed the bill today, May 25, 2016, and it will take effect in 15 months.
What do you think of this requirement for first time DUI offenders? Let us know in the comment section below.