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Bill Before Senate to Require Ignition Interlock Devices

Legislation before the Pennsylvania Senate would, if passed, mandate the installation of ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of people convicted of their first offense for driving under the influence (DUI). An ignition interlock device requires a driver to submit to a breath test before the ignition interlock device allows the vehicle to start.

Approved by the Senate Transportation Committee, the bill would require all people who receive an "occupational limited license" to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle as a condition of the license. If passed, the bill would shorten the eligibility requirements of serving 60 days of a license suspension to 15 days before a first-time DUI offender would be issued an occupational limited license. Occupational limited licenses are available to people convicted of a first-offense DUI who need to drive for either work or school. Currently, ignition interlock devices are not required as a condition of receiving this type of license

Further, the bill, which is supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), would double the fee for receiving an occupational limited license from $50 to $100.

The penalties faced for people convicted of their first DUI will vary depending on the level of their blood alcohol content (BAC). According to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, DUI penalties for people convicted of their first offense may include:

Drivers whose BAC is between .08 and .099 (General Impairment):

  • Up to six months probation
  • A fine of $300
  • Treatment, if ordered
  • Alcohol highway safety school

Drivers whose BAC is between .10 and .159 (High BAC):

  • License suspension of twelve months
  • A prison term of 48 hours to six months
  • Fine of $500 to $5,000
  • Treatment, if ordered
  • Alcohol highway safety school

Drivers whose BAC is above .159 (Highest BAC):

  • License suspension of twelve months
  • A prison term of 72 hours to six months
  • Fine of $1,000 to $5,000
  • Treatment, if ordered
  • Alcohol highway safety school

Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11291/1183011-100.stm

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Gregory R. Gifford
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