Virginia’s New Ignition Interlock Law

A very thorough and relatively balanced look at Virginia’s new ignition interlock law from the Washington Post – Is the new law too tough?
Starting on July 1st, anyone convicted of any first offense DUI will require a ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles in order to get their license restored. Previously the law required an interlock only in multiple offenses or other high breath test failure cases, but now it will cover anyone.
An ignition interlock is a “rolling breathalyzer”. You must provide a clean breath sample (alcohol free) in order for your car to start.
With any legal change, there are winners and losers.
The big question is: how much is public safety improved by requiring these systems to first time offenders who may have made a one time mistake, blowing just barely over the legal limit?
Obviously they are big losers in this decision. The courts may be a loser too, in that it is very possible a lot more DUI charges will go to trial. If a person for any number of reasons can’t get an ignition interlock, such as they have to drive different vehicles for their job, then it may make sense to take a chance in court to fight the charges. Even if the chances of winning are slim, some people will have nothing to lose by taking a gamble.
Interlock manufacturers and installers are also big winners. They now have state mandated customers.
But it remains to be seen how much this will truly help the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia make a measurable improvement in public safety.

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