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Pa. bill may allow paramedics to assist police in DUI cases

Under the bill, paramedics would be able to draw blood at DUI crash scenes when a police officer is present

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Legislation allowing paramedics to draw blood samples from DUI suspects at the scene of a car crash was introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature Monday.

House Bill 2058 would “allow paramedics to use their skills to assist our local police with timely blood draws if and when a paramedic is available,” Rep. Frank Farry said. “When presented, this option will help alleviate some of the wait time for obtaining crucial test results and reduce the number of times offenders are in the public emergency room.”

The bill, dubbed the Officer Brian Gregg Act, was put forward in honor of a police officer who was shot and killed in 2005 by a drunk driver he had taken to a hospital for a blood test, reported the Intelligencer. Paramedics are currently authorized to draw blood only in emergency situations or during routine ambulance transport. The proposed law would allow paramedics to draw blood at the scene of a crash when a police officer is present.

“Now, I have to send two officers to a hospital and waste their time. If this passes, I believe the amount of drunken-driving arrests will go up substantially because we will be out protecting our residents, not sitting in an emergency room,” Bensalem Public Safety Director Fred Harran said.

However, some local rescue squads were hesitant to throw their support behind the bill.

“Because it’s a public safety issue, I am not sure if we will participate. I want to read the entire bill and be sure about the legality of it,” Central Bucks Ambulance Chief Chuck Pressier said.