RICHMOND, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — The Virginia Senate has passed legislation requiring an ignition interlock for every first-time drunken driver, no matter how high the offender’s blood alcohol content registered.
Current law mandates the device only for repeat offenders or anyone registering a .15 blood alcohol level or higher. Drivers have to blow into the device, and if any alcohol is detected the car won’t start.
Democratic Sen. Don McEachin of Henrico County sponsored the bill. He said installation of the interlock device is a good way to prevent drunken drivers from committing a second offense. Opponents argued that poor people would have a tough time coming up with several hundred dollars to pay to use the device for a minimum of six months.
The bill passed 24-16. The House has passed similar legislation.
29,063 drivers were convicted of driving under the influence in Virginia in 2010–the most recent DMV data available according to the Virginia Gazette.
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