PA to extend ignition locks to first offenders

Posted at 8:09 AM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 14:16:30-04

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will sign a measure that expands Pennsylvania's ignition lock law to first-time drunken drivers.

The Senate passed the measure unanimously Wednesday. The House passed the bill Monday after several years of work to expand Pennsylvania's 2003 law that requires repeat drunk-driving offenders to use the devices for one year.

Under the bill, a first-time convicted drunk driver with an illegal blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 or higher could drive with an ignition interlock for one year, in lieu of a suspended license.

Senate officials say nearly every other state has a similar law. The provision wouldn't take effect for 15 months and wouldn't apply to people admitted to a diversion program designed for first-time nonviolent offenders.

Also, certain repeat offenders would become eligible to resume driving with an ignition lock during the period that their license was suspended.