Pa. officials seek to prevent repeat DUI offenders with device

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (WPVI) -- New devices will be installed in the vehicle of any Pennsylvania driver who is convicted of a DUI.

It's all result of a law passed in May.

"It will reduce the number of parents crying at the thought of what might have been," said Maggie Hannagan, mother.

Hannagan is mourning the death of her teenage children, Miles and Charlotte.

Back in February of 2015, the siblings were killed when a drunk driver slammed into the rear of their vehicle. He had two prior arrests for drunk driving.

Hannagan's daughter's high school class graduates Thursday.

"Charlotte's spot in the ceremony will be represented by an empty chair and a rose and a moment of silence," said Hannagan.

Hannagan appeared Thursday with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, hailing last month's passage of a state law requiring first offenders of DUI to be subject to the same penalties as repeat offenders.

They will pay $100 a month to have monitored ignition interlocks in their vehicles for at least one year.

"If there would be a violation, this would put the car into a temporary lockout for 5 minutes for the first violation," said Kathleen Riley, Smart Start.

Pennsylvania joins 47 other states that already impose an interlock for first offenders. Experts say nearly 1.8 million drunk driving attempts have been foiled nationwide.

"They'll be able to continue to provide for their families, they'll be able to continue to go to work, go to the athletic events, go to their house of worship," said Sen. John Rafferty (R-Chester County). "It will keep our roadway safe to make sure if they are driving
their car they are sober."

"Whether the offender suffers from poor judgement or severe addiction, the consequences are just as significant," said Montgomery County District Attorney Doug Lavenberg.

The backers of this escalation in the war against DUI says it will take at least a year and maybe more for PennDOT to get the program up and running.
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