Beginning in August 2017, any person convicted of drunk driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .10 or more will now be required to install an ignition interlock system in their vehicle for a year. Prior to this updated legislation, ignition interlocks were only mandated in Pennsylvania for people who committed a repeat DUI offense within a 10-year period; they were not a penalty for first-time offenders.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), there were 364 drunk driving fatalities and over 44,000 arrests for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania last year. Proponents of the changes to the ignition interlock law believe the stricter requirements will have a tremendous effect on decreasing drunk driving deaths, as well as arrests.
An ignition interlock is a device about the size of a cell phone that is wired into the ignition system of a vehicle. A convicted drunk driver must blow into the device in order to start their vehicle. If they have a measurable amount of alcohol in their system, the vehicle will not start. It is a simple and effective way to make sure that offenders can drive to and from work, but that they can't drive drunk. Each system costs approximately $1,000 plus maintenance costs, and the offender is required to pay for the device.
At Metzger Wickersham, we have represented many victims of drunk driving accidents, and we feel strongly about combating the intoxicated driving epidemic. Our law firm is committed to promoting education and awareness about safe driving through community outreach. Keeping in line with our mission, our annual Road to Safety Scholarship Contest for high school seniors encourages teens to get involved in spreading the message to keep our roads safe. Learn more about the contest at arrivealivepa.com.