Some PA lawmakers looking to increase penalties for repeat DUI offenders

Local News

Recently, lawmakers at the state capitol passed legislation to stiffen penalties against repeat DUI offenders. But, some who have lost loved ones say it’s still not enough, and they want to pass laws to prevent those tragedies from happening in the first place.

“Deana was a beautiful, gentle-hearted, loving person.”

45-year-old Deana Eckman was just minutes from her Delaware County home when her car was hit head-on by a suspected drunk driver, already with five previous DUI offenses; only out of prison because his sentences were allowed to run concurrently, rather than consecutively.

Senator Tom Killion asks, “How could someone who already had five DUI’s get behind the wheel while intoxicated and end someone’s life?”

Killion now looking to introduce ‘Deana’s Law’.

“We’ve made some progress in the laws; we had a major law change last year, but we still have a lot more to do.”

The senator says his law would focus on preventative measures; looking at changing those concurrent sentences. He’s also looking at technology; stopping repeat offenders from getting behind the wheel in the first place.

Deana’s Father, Richard, says, “The biggest solution in mitigating the DUI situation is going to be solved by engineers”.

Things like the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, which immobilizes a vehicle when it detects the driver is over the legal limit.  

He’s also looking at the use of scram bracelets.

Debbie D’Addona of Mothers Against Drunk Driving says, “As soon as they ingest alcohol, the monitor goes off, and they are picked up as a violation”.

They’ve already been successfully used in York and Lancaster counties.

Craig Stedman says, “You’re increasing safety; absolute efficiency… Doing it swiftly, making people face their consequences early on. It’s just all around a win for everybody.”

And Senator Killion hopes to officially introduce Deana’s Law within the next few weeks.

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