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Rick Shapiro
Rick Shapiro
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Pennsylvania to Allow Ignition Interlock Devices for Some First Time Drunk Drivers

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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf just signed into a law a measure that will allow some first time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock system on their vehicle, rather than have their license suspended. The new law will take effect in 15 months.

In earlier years, ignition interlock systems only were required for repeat drunk drivers. Under the new law, first time DUI drivers who have a BAC of .10 or higher (0.08 is the legal limit) – can avoid a year long license suspension if they choose to obtain an ‘ignition interlock license.’ The device will measure the driver’s BAC in order to start the vehicle.


Ignition interlock systems have resulted in more than 52,000 failed attempts to start a vehicle in 2015 in the state, according to the PA DUI Assn.

There are 25 other states that mandate the devices for every convicted drunk driver who has a BAC of 0.08 or higher. While the new law in Pennsylvania is not as strict, advocates believe it is a step in the right direction. The option to have an interlock device installed on the vehicle is not available to convicted drunk drivers who serious injury or kill others.

Our View

Given that more than 11,000 die in drunk driving accidents annually, our drunk driving personal injury lawyers think that this law is a good idea, but perhaps should go a step further. Why not mandate that all convicted drunk drivers have an ignition interlock system on their vehicle? That’s what is required in Virginia. Our Virginia DUI attorneys have represented people whose lives have been wrecked by drunk drivers, such as this recent $3.5 million drunk driving settlement.

Would it be too strict to require an interlock device for every drunk driver? Just ask the woman in the above Virginia drunk driving settlement what she thinks. Her injuries included breaking almost every major bone in her body, and she underwent open reduction with internal fixation to all three bones in her right leg, her left femur, left elbow and hipbone. She also suffered a collapsed lung, traumatic pancreatitis, respiratory failure, hemorrhagic shock, internal bleeding and removal of the gallbladder, in addition to multiple soft tissue injuries.

The more painful the consequences are for drunk driving, the less of that menace we will see on our roads.