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PA lacks all-offender ignition interlock device legislation

Pennsylvania does not have a mandatory all-offender ignition interlock law. Yet, IIDs can help to reduce the DUI fatality rate.

When people make the decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk, they risk the lives of thousands of other motorists on the road. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that even first-time DUI offenders have driven drunk as many as 80 times before they are arrested. As many as 75 percent of DUI offenders who have had their drivers licenses suspended continue to drive a vehicle while intoxicated, putting even more lives in danger. These tragic motor vehicle accidents caused by negligent drivers could be prevented. An all-offender ignition interlock device law in Pennsylvania may help to save these innocent lives that are lost each year.

Drunk driving fatality facts

Mothers Against Drunk Driving reported that at least 290,000 people were injured and 10,076 people were killed in drunk driving car accidents in 2013. Approximately 368 of those deaths and 7,900 injuries occurred in Pennsylvania alone. Although the DUI fatality rate in the state decreased by 9.6 percent from the year before, it still represents more than 30 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths.

Ignition interlock devices have proven to be successful in decreasing the drunk driving death rate by keeping repeat DUI offenders off of the road. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 23 states in the nation that require all convicted DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. Many of these states have seen a dramatic drop in the number of people killed and injured by drunk drivers. For instance, Oregon, West Virginia, New Mexico, Louisiana and Arizona have all had a decrease in DUI deaths by at least 30 percent. These are lives that have been saved because of a small device.

How interlock devices work

Once an ignition device is linked to a vehicle’s ignition system, the driver must blow a breath sample into a tube that is connected to the device whenever they want to start the vehicle. When the car is started, a periodic alarm will sound alerting the driver to submit another breath sample, which is known as a rolling retest. The device screens the breath sample for the presence of alcohol and provides a reading indicating the driver’s blood alcohol content level. If the machine measures a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher, the car will either lock up or notify the driver to pull over and turn off the car. All of this information, such as BAC level readings, failed attempts to start the car and tampering, will be transmitted to the authorities when the vehicle is taken in for a scheduled IID maintenance appointment.

Find a legal team

People who have been involved, injured or have lost a loved one in a drunk driving car accident may want to speak to an established personal injury attorney. A lawyer in Pennsylvania may be helpful in discussing your legal options and potential for compensation.