Drunk driving charges are serious in every state, but in Pennsylvania, recent changes in the law give no second chances. Some in the state are even calling the widespread drunk driving issue the “DUI war,” remarking on the growing concern of unsafe roads. Are the recent changes in Pennsylvania’s drunk driving laws enough to make real change?
The Pennsylvania Homepage shares that, as of August 2017, laws regarding driving while under the influence take on different meaning. Now, any first-time DUI offender having a blood alcohol content level of at least .10 percent must install an ignition interlock system in their vehicle, whereas previously any first-time offender automatically lost their driver’s license for one full year. Various Pennsylvania residents weighed in on the recent change, and most stated that the modifications are promising. In previous years, the suspension of a license may have changed offenders’ driving habits very little, and could have evened worsened dangerous habits. With the new DUI law, more responsibility is placed into the hands of drivers, who must use the ignition system in order to drive at all. Others commenting on the recent change disagree, stating that it is merely a cash-grab on behalf of the state.
The Daily Times Opinion also adds to the DUI law controversy, noting that while such modifications may be a positive step forward in reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road, it is only the beginning of the battle against the “DUI war.” Ultimately, the ignition system prevented thousands of drunk drivers from hitting Pennsylvania roads. Yet the Opinion argues that, for many first-time offenders, the threat of further legal trouble is not enough of a deterrent. In Lancaster county alone, 1,600 drivers are arrested for drunk driving each year, and a quarter of those drivers are repeat offenders. It is clear that progress is being made on the legal end, but most Pennsylvania residents hope to see even more effective modifications regarding DUI charges in the future.