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  • By: Kevin Leckerman, Esq.
  • Published: May 24, 2016
Car keys and a gavel on a desk - Leckerman Law, LLC

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Senate Bill 290 was overwhelmingly approved by the state House of Representatives to expand the use of ignition interlock devices for people who have been caught driving under the influence.

The Bill was approved by a vote of 194-1 and is expected to return to the Senate for concurrence. With passing of this bill, the legislature aims to make ignition interlocks mandatory for those first-time DUI offenders who register a high blood-alcohol level at the time of arrest.

Ignition interlock devices are installed on the steering column of the vehicle to test the blood alcohol content of the driver before the vehicle is started. The driver blows into the device and if alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start.

Those supporting the bill say that the legislation will rehabilitate first-time offenders instead of punishing them as it will allow them to keep their licenses. Many first-time offenders often become repeat offenders after violating their license suspension. However, with the ignition interlock device installed in vehicles, the chance of repeat offenses will be reduced.

According to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ignition interlock devices help reduce repeat offenses by 67%. 15 other states that have similar laws have also shown a decline of up to 45% in drunk-driving deaths, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

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