2012 Pennsylvania Senate Bill – Breathalyzers Installed In Motor Vehicles

There appeared a most interesting article in Chester County’s Daily Local News newspaper on January 11, 2012. It reported on a Senate Bill requiring first time drunk driving offenders to be required to use ignition interlock devices which are breath testing devices attached to automobiles.

The device would require an individual to breath into a tube before the ignition could start. If the test result showed a blood alcohol level that was close to the restricted limit (of .08) then the car would not start. The driver would then be required to wait until he or she became sober before being able to start the vehicle.

This concept is great in theory but unfortunately can be abused. A sober friend could blow into a machine thereby enabling his intoxicated friend to drive away and placing both him and the public in danger.

This Senate Bill is scheduled to come before the full Senate for a vote in a few months. Criminal penalties should be added to the Bill for any person who aids an intoxicated driver by blowing into the tube for him. This liability should also include that person’s exposure to civil liability for any personal injuries that may be caused by the drunk driver that he helped put him on the road. Current civil litigation law in Pennsylvania does not provide for such a remedy.

Think about, even though the sober friend aided and abetted the drunk driver in committing a crime, as the law stands right now, the sober friend could not be held responsible in a civil lawsuit no matter how catastrophic the injuries to an innocent victim in a car crash may be. Let your State representative know about this.

Peter Hart

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