State Senate Approves Rafferty Bill to Extend Use of Ignition Interlock Devices for Certain DUI Offenders

The State Senate today unanimously approved legislation intended to save lives and make roads safer by expanding the use of ignition interlock devices for offenders of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), according to Senator John Rafferty (R-44), who sponsored the measure.

Under current law, anyone who commits a second or subsequent DUI offense within 10 years, refuses chemical testing or illegally operates a vehicle not equipped with an ignition interlock is mandated to install an ignition interlock on their vehicle for 1 year after their driving privilege is restored.

Senate Bill 290 mainly establishes an ignition interlock limited license that allows individuals who commit a DUI violation to be immediately eligible to install an ignition interlock in a primary-use vehicle if the individual did not have a prior offense within the past 10 years.

“Today marks another historic day in the Senate by passing Senate Bill 290 that will preserve lives in this Commonwealth,” said Rafferty, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “This bill is smart on crime and is widely lauded by law enforcement and Mothers Against Drunk Driving as a preventive measure of controlling DUIs.”

He added that the legislation is a strong deterrent to drunk driving behavior, as ignition interlocks separate drinking from driving and teach sober driving—which license suspension alone does not accomplish.

“First time offenders often cause serious offenses and research has shown that a substantial number will violate the terms of their license suspension and become repeat offenders,” Rafferty said. “Ignition interlocks will place them in a controlled environment that will enable them to continue driving safely to work, school, etc. It’s a win-win for public safety.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ignition interlocks laws are found to reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent. States with similar laws have reduced drunk driving fatalities by 38 percent in New Mexico, 35 percent in Louisiana, 43 percent in Arizona and 42 percent in Oregon.

Senate Bill 290 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. If passed and signed into law, the ignition interlock limited license is effective in 15 months while other provisions are effective immediately.

CONTACT: Nolan Richie (717) 787-1398