HARRISBURG – The state Senate approved groundbreaking legislation this week requiring the use of innovative technology to more strictly monitor repeat DUI offenders, according to Senator Gene Yaw (R-23), who supported the measure.
“This is directed at the worst of the worst,” Senator Yaw said. “Serial repeat offenders use gaps in the law to get around the system and continue offending. The consequences of this have been tragic. This bill will further protect those using our roadways.”
Senate Bill 773, known as Deana’s Law, was named in memory of Deana Eckman, a Delaware County woman who was killed by a drunk driver who had five previous DUI convictions. The legislation would require people arrested for a third or subsequent DUI to wear continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM) devices. Similar to home arrest monitors, breathalyzers and other devices, CAM devices are strapped to the individual. They randomly sample the person’s perspiration for alcohol and transmit the results to a court-designated monitoring agency.
Some counties in the state already use the alcohol monitoring devices on a voluntarily basis and have seen sharp declines in DUI recidivism.
The legislation would also:
Increase jail time for those convicted of three DUIs or more. Those convicted of a fourth offense would be subject to a five-to-10 year sentence rather than the current three-and-a-half to seven years. Fifth and subsequent DUI convictions would expose the felony offender to a 10-to-20 year penalty rather than the current three-and-a-half to seven years.
Require that those convicted of a third DUI offense serve the sentence for that offense consecutively to any other sentence the offender is serving and to any other sentence to be imposed by the court.
Increase from one to two years the required period for anti-DUI interlock devices on any vehicle operated by a person with three or more DUI convictions.
Senate Bill 773 now moves to the full House for consideration.
Rita Zielonis, Chief of Staff