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Legislation thread

Various bills make their way through Harrisburg affecting bikes in some way. It might be helpful to have a single thread to discuss them as they come along. Often bills get tabled for months at a time, or die altogether only to be reintroduced in the next session. I get an email every day summarizing legislative activity in the state capitol. Sign up here to get that summary.
2016-05-18 05:12:45
Let's start off with SB61, which would include bike medics as officially recognized emergency vehicles. Quoting from Senator Greenleaf's memo: I am reintroducing Senate Bill 312, amending the Vehicle Code, Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, to officially recognize Bike Medics and permit them to operate their bicycles in the same manner as a police officer on a bicycle. It was SB312 in the previous session, is SB61 now. To get to the text of the bill, from that page, click on the link in the lower left corner, then find the (starred) current printer's number. There's a bit of an art to reading bills, but like anything, it comes with practice.
2016-05-18 05:22:56
Share-the-Road license plate legislation has passed the House. Link SB61 (see above) passed the House, 188-1.
2016-05-25 06:47:03
The ignition interlock bill I posted about in another thread has been signed by Gov. Wolf! "Some Pennsylvanians caught driving drunk for the first time will be required to use ignition interlock devices." Wouldn't want to make it ALL Pennsylvanians caught driving drunk -- must leave some leeway. (There were 10,288 collisions statewide involving drinking drivers in 2015.)
2016-05-25 15:05:42
Actually I think with the interlock it is for the first offense when the BAL is over 0.1. But over 0.08 is DUI. So there's some gray area where you can be DUI but no interlock.
2016-05-25 18:12:42
Aren't they reporting it wrong? "Some Pennsylvanians caught driving drunk for the first time will be required to use ignition interlock devices". Isn't giving up your driver's license the other option?
2016-05-26 07:34:35
At least if there's an interlock device, they have to not be drunk while driving (unless they have a sober passenger to blow in the device). If they lose their license, they can just drive anyway, because no one ever checks, and there's no reason they couldn't drink, too.
2016-05-26 07:46:41
The law states that those with a first offense, would go through ARD. Those with a prior offense, would be required to have the device IF their BAC is greater or at .10, which is over the legal limit of .08. As it stands with the current law, you only get the device after something like 3 or four offenses. Basically, the only people that benefit, are the lawyers and lawmakers, and with the new law, it will make more money for those involved , including MADD, etc. For you see, these people who are habitual offenders, have serious problems, and what makes you think they will still not get behind the wheel of a car?! There was a story of one person who had been busted over 8 times. The problem goes beyond any quick remedy. So please don't feel too safe out there, and like I said, it's all about the money. One other thing, I find it kind of funny that you can be charged with DUI , if you had just eaten a breath mint, or used mouthwash. Oh sure, you can fight that and have the charges dropped...but it is going to cost a lot of money to do it...
2016-05-26 07:58:12
there are many out there that have lost their driver license, that does not mean they don't get in a car and drive. Offenders with many convictions lose license or have it revoked. Also, that depends on how good a lawyer the offender has. With a good lawyer, they get off real easy. it's a shame.
2016-05-26 08:05:08
A few years ago my neighbor was required to have one of these installed on his car after several DUIs. I don't remember the details, but it was several thousand dollars to install/uninstall, and he still had access to his wife's & daughter's car (which didn't have the device). It was truly frightening how often he used "their" cars instead of his. I talked with my local police about it, but nothing happened. So while I think requiring interlocks is a good thing, I'm afraid I share @lookout's pessimism that it doesn't really help and is really just making money for whoever puts these things on. From PennDOT's FAQ: Cost may vary depending on the provider chosen. All systems are leased from the vendor to the individual at an approximate cost of $1,000 per system. The individual required to have the ignition interlock system will bear the costs.
2016-05-26 08:56:43
I guess not enforcing the law on interlocks doesn't work any better than not enforcing the law on unlicensed driving. Who would have thought?
2016-05-26 12:12:25
Heh. I wonder how much outcry would be raised if one were to try to legally assert that interlocks are vital safety equipment, and require that all vehicles be equipped with them over, say, a 10-year phase-in period. The cost would drop like a brick, if A) economies of scale kicked in and B) they were no longer aftermarket, but a required part of the initial design. Pie in the sky aside, I agree that enforcement is the problem. Preventing people from driving whilst intoxicated/unlicensed is nigh-impossible...all you can really do is make the penalties when caught unpleasant enough to act as a partial deterrent. I used to advocate confiscation and sale of vehicles used by an unlicensed/uninsured driver, regardless of who owns them. I've mellowed in my old age; now, I just want the vehicle to be held as evidence until the (highly improbable to ever actually happen) hearing/trial/whatever of the offending driver is complete. People will probably be less willing to loan their car out, if there's a real chance they won't get it back for a long time.
2016-05-26 12:31:02
Dan, I hear you. I thought that I saw an article stating that by such and such year, all motor vehicles would have that type of system mandatory.
2016-05-26 13:11:06
If society really cared about DUI, we would have sobriety check points on the NortSide on football Sundays.... and after baseball & hockey home games too... not to mention after political fundraising dinners with open bars. until you see those things society doesn't really care. +1 on impounding the vehicle for 30 days of anyone caught driving on a suspended license (for any reason & regardless of car ownership).
2016-05-26 13:36:41
Mark, that would like the gestapo, having check points and such. Again, that would bring even MORE cash into their pockets. The solution is far from being reached, although lots have answers. it's dog eat dog for the victims. The solution lies in one's very behavior. Simple as that. Don't drink and drive. But people can't behave, so there are those out there, that take advantage of that weakness.
2016-05-26 14:13:59
It's not Gestapo to check if people driving on public streets are licensed and not DUI. When you drive a car, you're expected to follow the rules. Not checking whether people are actually doing that is irresponsible and neglects an important civic responsibility. The city is allowing people to create a dangerous situation, knows they are doing it, and is not doing anything to stop it. It's only because we have a weird idea of a "right to drive" that we accept this. Here's what would stop DUI and unlicensed driving: if there was always a chance, say 1%, that you'd get caught, and a higher chance if you were doing it at a time and place where it happens commonly.
2016-05-26 14:46:46
Stafford Co., VA (about 50 miles south of DC): "A Stafford County man was ordered Monday to serve nine and a half years in prison for driving drunk and killing a young Stafford man in September.… Charles Fife…pleaded guilty to aggravated involuntary manslaughter, driving while intoxicated (second offense) and driving after having forfeited his license. [Judge Charles Sharp] sentenced Fife to a total of 17 years with [seven] and a half suspended. According to the state, Fife had received a DUI the previous year, and thus was taking alcohol safety classes and was required to drive only with an ignition interlock. However at the time of the incident he was driving a vehicle with no interlocks, had a BAC of .21, and was speeding en route to another bar when he rear-ended a vehicle waiting to make a left turn; the other driver died at the scene. “It is clear that what happened was not an accident,” [Judge] Sharp said. “This was avoidable.”
2016-05-26 15:01:02