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Pa. bill aims to prevent repeat DUI offenses

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – ​​​​​​Deana Eckman, 45, was just minutes from her Delaware County home when her car was hit head-on by a suspected drunk driver. 

Already with five previous offenses, the offender was only out of prison because his sentences were allowed to run concurrently rather than consecutively. 

“How could someone who already had five DUIs get behind the wheel while intoxicated and end someone’s life?” asked Sen. Tom Killion, of Chester and Delaware counties. 

Senator Killion is 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,” said Killion. 

The Senator says his law would focus on preventative measures, change those concurrent sentences, and he’s also looking at technology which would stop repeat offenders from getting behind the wheel in the first place. 

“The biggest solution in mitigating the DUI situation is going to be solved by engineers,” said Richard DeRosa, Deana Eckman’s father. 

Those are 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. 

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

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

“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,” said Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman.

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

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