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Bill would create state registry for habitual DUI offenders

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HARRISBURG, Pa.State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, has introduced a two-bill package aiming to reduce the number of driving under the influence-related accidents in Pennsylvania.

“We need to get serious about keeping alcohol out of the hands of habitual DUI offenders. Period,” Caltagirone said.

Caltagirone’s legislation, H.B. 1441, would create the Pennsylvania Habitual DUI Offender Registry and would require an individual convicted of five or more DUIs, within 20 years prior to enactment, to register. It would also apply to convictions for operating a watercraft under the influence. The registry would be modeled after the Ohio Habitual DUI Offender Registry.

“This is about raising public awareness. We have an impaired-driving problem in Pennsylvania and the general public has a right to know with whom the problem lies,” Caltagirone said. “The overarching goal is to keep everyone safer – drivers, boaters, passengers, pedestrians.

“We are coming up on the July 4 holiday and all too often it is linked to an increase in drunk-driving crashes. This bill would help combat alcohol-related accidents not just around holidays, but 365 days a year.”

Under the administration of the Department of Transportation, the registry would include the name, date of birth, residence, and employment address of an offender. It would also require the number of DUI convictions, and the date and location of each DUI conviction to be listed.

In addition, Caltagirone has introduced similar legislation, H.B. 1439, that would create the Persons Not to Consume Alcohol Database in Pennsylvania. Under the direction of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the database would be designed to be used by state liquor store employees to deny habitual DUI offenders, upon presenting identification, the purchase of alcoholic beverages. The database would include names listed on the habitual DUI registry as well as individuals who would apply to be self-excluded from purchasing alcohol from Pennsylvania state stores.

“Both Berks County and Luzerne County suffered great losses on Sunday, June 7 with two tragic accidents that are suspected to be caused by repeat DUI offenders,” said Caltagirone. “If these allegations prove true, the lives of Rev. Lynn Koch and Paula Jones were senselessly cut short because of individuals who should not have been behind the wheel.

“The motivation behind these bills includes honoring the lives of these women who will be remembered as loving mothers, dear friends and pillars of strength.”