At a news conference in Erie today, Senator John Rafferty (R-44), Senator Sean D. Wiley (D-49), local officials, and other advocacy groups showed their support for Pennsylvania’s new ignition interlock law, saying it will save lives and prevent repeat drunk driving attempts.
Rafferty and Wiley offered their thanks to those who spent the last six years working for passage of Act 33 of 2016, and said the next step is to increase public education about the legislation.
The new law will require most convicted first-time drunk drivers with illegal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .10 or greater to use ignition interlocks for at least 12 months, effective in August 2017.
“Statistics in states that have similar laws clearly show the implementation of ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders significantly reduce drunk-driving fatalities,” said Rafferty, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate. “The families of DUI victims who have worked so hard to get this bill through the Legislature should be proud that they have done something that will save lives and prevent needless tragedies.”
“Act 33 will save lives – that is a fact. Each of us who have suffered the loss of a loved one knows the value in lessening the number of people who climb behind the wheel when alcohol-impaired and ignition interlock systems work,” said Wiley, who lost a family member to a drunk-driving accident only a few short years ago. “Act 33 is a huge step in the right direction of curbing drunk-driving, but this work is far from done and won’t be finished until alcohol-impaired driving is no longer an issue in this Commonwealth.”
According to statistics compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, nearly 2 million drunk-driving attempts have been stopped with ignition interlock devices, including more than 78,000 instances in Pennsylvania between 2003 and 2015.
The installation of ignition interlock devices has been shown to reduce the number of DUI incidents by 30 percent.
CONTACT: Nolan Ritchie — Senator Rafferty –717-787-1398
Laura Guncheon – Senator Wiley – (814) 453-2515