To the Editor:
In 2015, 345 people were killed by drunk drivers on Pennsylvania roads, marking the first increase from a prior year since 2010. This is not merely a statistic to us as two of those victims were our 16-year-old daughter, Charlotte, and 19-year-old son, Miles. They were killed when a man chose to drink to excess and then drive at high speed on Route 100 in Uwchlan. It is impossible for us to explain how devastating it is to lose children in such a senseless way.
Since the deaths of our precious children, we have become involved in multiple organizations dedicated to combating this appalling behavior. Thanks to Representative Harry Lewis’ support and that of his colleagues, last November, the state legislature passed a bill mandating the installation of interlock devices on the vehicle of certain first-time DUI offenders. This measure will let those first offenders get to work and provide for their families but ensures that they don’t drive drunk.
Unfortunately, education and prevention are not enough to deter some people. 47 states in our country have stricter DUI laws than Pennsylvania. As a step towards increasing punishment for the most dangerous, repeat DUI offenders, Rep. Lewis has co-sponsored HB 2318, which will increase penalties for repeat DUIs and also grade a fourth DUI as a felony. Only five states, including Pennsylvania, do not charge an offender with a felony no matter how many times he or she is convicted of DUI.
We thank Representative Harry Lewis for standing with us in our mission to change Pennsylvania’s weak DUI laws. We appreciate Representative Lewis being at our side in this fight, and on Tuesday, November 8th, we ask that you please vote to re-elect Harry Lewis as State Representative.
Paul and Maggie Hannagan