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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 3, 2019 03:59 PM
From: Representative Angel Cruz
To: All House members
Subject: Preventing Drivers from Returning to their Vehicles Immediately after a DUI Arrest
In July 2000, Navy Ensign John R. Elliott was killed in a head-on collision with a vehicle whose driver had been charged with drunk driving earlier that night but returned to his vehicle upon his release. The drunk driver also died and the friend who picked him up from police barracks was later charged with manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and aggravated assault because police identified him as an accomplice to the accident.

In response to this senseless tragedy, New Jersey lawmakers passed legislation requiring police to seize the vehicles of suspected drunk drivers and hold them for up to 12 hours. Pennsylvania currently has no such law ensuring that those arrested for D.U.I. cannot return to their vehicle upon their release.

I have modeled legislation after New Jersey’s so that anyone arrested for driving while under the influence will not have access to their vehicle for a period of 12 hours following their arrest. The vehicle shall not be released until the person claiming the vehicle presents documentation including a valid driver’s license, proof of ownership or lawful authority to operate the motor vehicle and proof of valid insurance for that vehicle.
Under the bill, a responsibility warning will be issued to persons assuming custody of the arrested person.

Please join me in ensuring the safety of all Pennsylvania drivers. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my Harrisburg office at 717-705-1925.

Introduced as HB216