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DUI Proof Cars? Manufacturer Installed Interlocks Proposed

Nearly each legislative session, legislatures around the country propose new laws aimed at making the penalties for drunk driving stronger. Pennsylvania is no exception, as new laws mandating the installation of ignition interlock devices for first-time DUI offenders was up for debate.

The current DUI rules in Pennsylvania call for the interlock devices after multiple DUI convictions. These devices measure a driver's breath for the presence of alcohol. If any is detected, the car will not start. The interlock will continue to monitor the vehicle while it is traveling to ensure that the driver has not consumed any alcohol after starting the vehicle.

Auto manufacturers have received funding under a federal transportation bill that would help them develop ignition interlock devices as a standard preinstalled feature. Anytime a person wanted to start a vehicle, he or she would have to check their breath with the interlock device.

While proponents of pre-installed interlocks feel that it would lead to a reduced amount of drunk drivers on roads, critics are concerned about the potential problems that may arise. For example, say a person went to a happy hour after work and had a few beers.

If this person then tries to drive home, will the car detect the alcohol on the driver's breath and refuse to start? Sober drivers may be prevented from being able to use their vehicle. Officials concede that this may in fact happen, but would like the devices to implement a better-safe-than-sorry approach.

No matter what changes happen in the future, ignition interlocks are here to stay. If you have been convicted of DUI and are facing additional DUI charges, you may be required to install one of these devices in your vehicle. Know the options that are available to you, so that you understand the consequences of a conviction.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "DUI's new enemy: robocars" April 8, 2012.

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Gregory R. Gifford
  • RGS&G Firm News

    "Gregory R. Gifford, a partner at the Lansdale law firm of Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C., was elected Vice President of the Montgomery Bar Association on January 13, 2017. Mr. Gifford is a past Director of the Association and has also served as its Treasurer and Secretary"Read more...

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Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford has been a member of the local Penn Suburban Chamber of Commerce (previously known as North Penn Suburban Chamber of Commerce) for more than 25 years.

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