Only a few
hours before a federal deadline elapsed, the Pennsylvania House
unanimously sent to Gov. Ed Rendell a bill to toughen the state’s
drunken driving law, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The House passed
the measure Monday, Sept. 29, by a 201-0 vote. SB8 calls for lowering
the blood-alcohol limit from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent, toughening
penalties for drivers with especially high blood-alcohol levels
and ensuring that the Pennsylvania Transportation Department has
authority to install an ignition interlock device in the car of
a repeat offender for one year.
was expected to sign the bill Tuesday, Sept. 30. The Senate approved
it last week 47-1.
lower limit in place by Oct. 1, the state risks losing $11 million
in federal transportation funds, or 2 percent of certain highway
road dollars, the newspaper reported. The figure would increase
to 8 percent – $41 million – if the standard were not adopted by
The bill sets
up increasing levels of punishment for higher blood-alcohol levels
– 0.08 to 0.099; 0.10 to 0.159; and 0.16 and up – all becoming more
severe with each additional offense.
Once the bill
is signed, the lower limit takes effect immediately, while most
of the other provisions, including the tiered penalty system, would
go into effect Feb. 1.