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PA Senate Approves Ignition Interlocks For First Time DUI Offenders

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) -- The Pennsylvania Senate has again passed legislation that would allow first time DUI offenders to have ignition interlock systems. The bill now goes the House for consideration.

Under current Pennsylvania law, ignition interlock systems are mandated for DUI offenders with two or more offenses within ten years. The sponsor of the bill, suburban Philadelphia Republican John Rafferty, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, says merely suspending a DUI offender's license is often inadequate.

"50 to 70-percent of drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license." says Rafferty. "States requiring interlocks on the first offense – which is what this bill will do – such as Arizona, Oregon [and] New Mexico, have had DUI deaths cut by 33-percent."

Similar legislation passed the Senate in the last two-year legislative session but did not get action in the House. Rafferty says House leaders have indicated it will get consideration in the current session.

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