It’s been 11 years since the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers started on a crusade to get Pennsylvania legislators to pass a new DUI law. That law will require ignition interlock devices for many first-time drunk driving offenders.

The president of MADD lost her 18-year-old son in a drunk driving accident. The driver of the vehicle in which he was a passenger was under the influence of both alcohol and drugs when he drove into the Housatonic River in Connecticut. Her son couldn’t escape the sinking car. He was sober.

The new law will allow any first-time offender who has a blood alcohol content of .10 or higher to choose to face a one-year driver’s license suspension or apply for an ignition interlock license. The ignition interlock will not allow a car to be started if the driver has alcohol in his or her system. The ignition interlock would have to be used for at least a year.

Senator John Rafferty, R-Montgomery County, said that ignition interlock devices have stopped more than 78,000 attempts to drive by people who had alcohol in their system between 2013 and 2015. During the last year, more than 300 people died in alcohol-related crashes in Pennsylvania. There were more than 12,800 such crashes in the state last year.

The senator said that the passage of this law is simply the first of many in preventing drunk driving.

A drunk driving charge can affect many areas of your life, including your job and your relationships. A drunk driving charge is not a given conviction, but a strong defense is necessary.

Source: PennLive.com, “Legislators, safe driving advocates celebrate drunk driving prevention law,” Carley Mossbrook, June 08, 2016