At a news conference in Harrisburg, Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr., (R-44) joined lawmakers, law enforcement, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Parents Against Impaired Driving, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and other advocacy groups to discuss the impact and implementation of Pennsylvania’s new ignition interlock law to further strengthen Pennsylvania’s Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws.
Following the news conference, an ignition interlock demonstration was organized by the Pennsylvania DUI Association in a vehicle equipped with the device.
The new law, Act 33 of 2016, becomes effective on August 25, 2017, and requires first-time DUI offenders with an illegal Blood Alcohol Content of .10 percent or higher to use ignition interlocks for at least 12 months.
“Ignition interlocks are smart on crime and proven to stop drunk-driving attempts,” stated Senator Rafferty, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee. “With this new law, ignition interlocks will be available to more individuals and allow them to be productive members of society in a strictly-controlled environment while serving their drunk-driving sentence.”
“We have seen far too many cases in which drunk drivers have put innocent victims in harm’s way. The new ignition interlock requirements will go a long way toward preventing drunk drivers from making the deadly choice of getting behind the wheel while impaired,” mentioned Senator Scott Martin, who introduced legislation earlier this year that would enact stiffer punishments for repeat DUI offenders. “Even one tragedy related to drunk driving is one too many. These new laws are a clear step in the right direction, but our work is not finished. We must continue to explore every avenue to prevent the tragedies that result from driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.”
“Simply put, ignition interlocks save lives. Just last year they prevented over 7,000 DUIs. On top of that, this legislation will allow people an opportunity to drive safely and continue to support their families,” noted Craig Stedman, District Attorney for Lancaster County. “It is hard to find legislation which protects the community and helps the offenders. This legislation, however, accomplishes both of those goals, and I want to thank Senator Rafferty and all the organizations involved in getting this law passed for their efforts and unwavering commitment to make our streets safer.”
There were 10,256 alcohol-related crashes in Pennsylvania that unfortunately resulted in 297 deaths in 2016. With Act 33, Pennsylvania joins 48 other states across the nation in expanding ignition interlock to most first-time DUI offenders with the premise of reducing alcohol-related crashes and deaths.
Nolan Ritchie, Senator Rafferty’s Office, 717-787-1398
Terry Trego, Senator Martin’s Office, 717-787-6535
Brett Hambright, Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office, 717-299-8100