Pennsylvania to extend ignition locks law to first offenses

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2006 file photo, Massachusetts State Police Lt. Paul Maloney holds an ignition interlock device outside Boston's State House. In Massachusetts, repeat drunk drivers are required to have them installed on their vehicles upon issuance of a hardship license or at full license reinstatement. In Connecticut, a measure passed unanimously by the state’s General Assembly in spring 2014 requires first-time offenders charged with drunken driving to install similar blood-alcohol testers in their vehicles, even if they’ve never been convicted. The bill is awaiting the signature of Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has not yet received the legislation. (AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will sign a measure that expands Pennsylvania’s ignition lock law to first-time drunken drivers.

The Senate passed the measure unanimously Wednesday. The House passed the bill Monday after several years of work to expand Pennsylvania’s 2003 law that requires repeat drunk-driving offenders to use the devices for one year.

Under the bill, a first-time convicted drunk driver with an illegal blood-alcohol concentration of 0.10 or higher could drive with an ignition interlock for one year, in lieu of a suspended license. Senate officials say nearly every other state has a similar law.

The provision wouldn’t take effect for 15 months.

Also, certain repeat drunk-driving offenders would become eligible to resume driving with an ignition lock during the period that their license was suspended.

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