New ‘Ignition Interlock’ Law For First Time DUI Offenders Goes Into Effect

Starting Friday, first time DUI offenders in Pennsylvania can have an ignition locking system installed on their vehicle.

The new ignition lock law targets drivers with a blood alcohol level of point one or higher.

A blood alcohol level of .08 is considered legally drunk in Pennsylvania.

The interlocking system requires a person to blow into a machine to test if there is alcohol on their breath before starting their vehicle.

Until now, the interlocking system was used for drivers with multiple DUI offenses.

Drug and alcohol officials hope that this device being installed in cars will stop people from driving drunk.

The law passed back in May of 2016 just went into effect. Instead of having their licenses suspended, first time DUI offenders with a blood alcohol level of 0.1 or higher will get these devices in their vehicles.

Richard Conavoy has worked with offenders for 17 years at Cedar Brook Manor Adult Treatment Center near Wilkes-Barre.

"Right now, it's the opioid crisis but DUI is a big crisis too. We have people with two, three, four DUIs and they end up in treatment."

A driver blows into the device. If it detects alcohol, the vehicle won't start.

Those drivers will have to pay for the device and most will it in their vehicle for at least a year.

"Society will be better with an interlock on there because it keeps them from driving drunk. Most people, it is not an accident if they get a DUI. It's not the first time they drive drunk and probably won't be the last."

We went to Kaschak's Foreign & American Auto where the owner has been installing interlock devices for years. He hopes a device will work as a deterrent for people even thinking about getting behind the wheel after drinking.

"The interlock is only part of the costs. The other court costs and everything else really takes a toll on your pocket," said Joe Kaschak.

Officials say PennDOT will be able to monitor an ignition interlock and know when it prevents a driver from starting the vehicle.

8 comments

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    If the guy is drunk and the machine doesn’t pick it up, who is liable if he drives and crashes and kills someone?

    With the right lawyer, the police and the breathalyzer company may be liable.

    Don’t believe me? In today’s insane world???

    Haha.

    Just ask the deaf firefighters.

  • Taco Salad

    I guess distracted driving isn’t all that dangerous after all.
    Blowing one of these babies off after a half hour on the road has to be as distracting as sending a text.

  • Bob Smith

    It won’t help….. I tell why. At any time when they would ask a non drunk for assistance to blow for them to get their vehicle to start and drive off drunk. It happens.

  • 80 years old and thank GOD.

    The way things are going you will be able to buy booze anywhere so whats the use. People will crash. People will die. people will go to jail. And nothing will change but there will be more places to buy booze.

  • Pepe

    What stops somebody from using a water bottle, a bicycle pump, or their pet frog from blowing into it for them?

  • Lance

    I have seen cases of DUI on a bicycle, lawn mower and a jet ski. How does one put an ignition lock on a bicycle?. Jam the spokes?

    • Bob Smith

      I’ve seen on news a drunk who rode his bicycle at late night … Unfortunately got killed in an accident too.

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