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Pennsylvania Lawmakers Seek Ignition Interlocks For First Time DUI Offenders

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) -- State lawmakers believe they are close to enacting legislation that would require ignition interlock systems for some first-time offenders convicted of driving under the influence.

The chairman of the state Senate Transportation Committee, John Rafferty, has been pushing for the legislation for four years, and is optimistic it will get done in the new session. The breathalyzer-like ignition interlocks are already required for repeat DUI offenders. Rafferty, a suburban Philadelphia Republican, is sponsoring a bill that would also mandate them for first time offenders with a blood alcohol level of 0.10 or higher. Rafferty cited support from a former DUI offender who says interlock systems are better tools for behavior modification than suspending someone's license and causing possible job loss.

"Loss of employment simply compounds the life issues that may be causing one to drink irresponsibly," said Rafferty.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving says ignition interlocks are the group's top legislative priority.

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