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Host: Scott LaMar

Cracking down on PA impaired drivers

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Aug 30, 2017 4:34 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, August 30, 2017:

There were almost 13,000 crashes in Pennsylvania that involved an impaired driver in 2015.  That same year, more than 400 people died. 

As of last week, Pennsylvania has a new law that addresses first-time DUI offenders.  Those convicted of driving under the influence will now have to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles.  The driver will have to blow into the device and if any alcohol is detected, the vehicle won't start.

What's new is first-time offenders must get the ignition interlocks.  Pennsylvania is one of the last states to institute ignition interlocks for first-time offenders.

However, those who campaign for stronger DUI laws say the ignition interlock is just the first step in cracking down on drunk and drugged drivers and more is needed.  They point to a 2016 survey that ranked Pennsylvania 48th out of 50 states in having the most lenient DUI laws.

They say the state has to enact laws that focus on high-risk offenders, like those who have been arrested more than once for DUI, have high blood-alcohol levels or drive while their licenses are suspended.

Wednesday's Smart Talk digs deeper on DUI laws with Eileen Lee, Director of Ignition Interlock Quality Assurance with the Pennsylvania DUI Association and Chris Demko of the group Pennsylvania Parents Against Impaired Driving.  Mr. Demko's 18-year-old daughter Meredith was killed in a July 2014 crash with driver who was drunk, high on heroin, was driving with suspended license and was a repeat offender.

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Chris Demko - Pennsylvania Parents Against Impaired Drivers / Eileen Lee - Director of Ignition Interlock Quality Assurance with the Pennsylvania DUI Association

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