HARRISBURG – Today, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 290, which would make the ignition interlock program mandatory for certain first-time DUI offenders and, in those cases where the interlock program is applied, reduce driver’s license suspension requirements. State Rep. Keith J. Greiner (R-Upper Leacock) introduced companion legislation, House Bill 278
, and has worked tirelessly alongside Sen. John Rafferty (Montgomery/Chester/Berks) toward the historic passage of this legislation. The bill was approved by a vote of 194-1.
“This legislation has been vetted over a number of years by the General Assembly. I am proud to say today, that after working with my colleagues in the House that this important legislation is one step closer to becoming law once and for all,” Greiner said. “This legislation is about saving lives; by preventing those who exercised poor judgment by drinking and driving from doing so again. At the same time, this legislation would rehabilitate rather than punish first-time offenders by allowing them to keep their licenses on the condition that they submit to the ignition interlock program.”
An ignition interlock is a device installed on the steering column of a motor vehicle to prohibit individuals under the influence of alcohol from operating the vehicle. Individuals are required to blow into the device, and if it detects alcohol, the vehicle will not start.
“I am thankful for the support of my colleagues and for all of the community members, including Chris Demko, who have advocated for this legislation including the work of the bipartisan joint DUI Task Force, led by Rep. Jim Marshall (R-Beaver/Butler). Additionally, Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) were instrumental in moving this issue forward,” added Greiner.
“This issue is one which is not touched by partisanship, because the use of ignition interlock systems will undisputedly save lives across the Commonwealth, and I am thankful for today’s overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. Having worked closely with Sen. Rafferty who sponsored this legislation, I appreciate his leadership on this issue,” said Greiner.
Research shows that there are more than 30,000 first-time DUI offenders each year, and a substantial number of those offenders violate terms of their license suspension and become repeat offenders. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ignition interlocks are effective in reducing recidivism rates by 67 percent. And in the 15 states that have enacted similar laws requiring ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers, drunk driving deaths have declined by as much as 45 percent. Locally, DUI offenses account for 30 percent of all court cases in Lancaster County, a third of which are for repeat offenders.
Greiner sponsored a substantive amendment to Senate Bill 290 which was unanimously adopted to strengthen and streamline the ignition interlock program, earlier this month. The bill now returns to the Senate for concurrence in House amendments and upon that concurrence, signature by the governor.
Representative Keith J. Greiner, CPA
43rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Eric Reath