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Exemptions to Ignition Interlock Law

A previous blog post discussed Pennsylvania's Ignition Interlock Law. Typically, those with more than one conviction for driving under the influence are subject to the law which requires an ignition interlock system to be installed in every motor vehicle that the repeat offender owns, operates or leases. However, there are certain exemptions, including the economic hardship exemption and the employment exemption which may, under certain circumstances, allow some repeat DUI offenders to operate motor vehicles without an ignition interlock system.

The economic hardship exemption is available to those who can prove that the requirement to have an ignition interlock system installed in each of their motor vehicles presents an undue financial hardship for them. If the department determines that the offender's situation constitutes an undue hardship, it may permit the applicant to install an ignition interlock system in only one of their motor vehicles. The offender is still prohibited from driving or operating any motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system.

The employment exemption applies to offenders who are required to drive in the course and scope of their employment. Such a person may drive, operate or be in actual physical control of motor vehicles owned by his or her employer without installation of an ignition interlock system if certain requirements are met.

The employer must be notified of the employee's restriction and the employee must have proof of that notification while driving or operating the employer's motor vehicle. The notification must include a notarized signature of the employer acknowledging the employee's restricted status.

An employee will not be able to avail themselves of this exemption if the employer-owned vehicle is made available to the employee for personal use, if the employer who owns the motor vehicle is owned - in whole or in part - by an entity which is owned by the employee or if the employer-owned motor vehicle is a school bus or any vehicle designed to carry more than 15 passengers. Offenders who do not qualify for these exemptions may be subject to penalties if they violate the Ignition Interlock Law. Potential penalties will be discussed in a future post.

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