Virginia Legislature Revives Bill To Install Ignition-Interlock Devices In Vehicles Of First-Time DUI Offenders
On Monday, March 3, the Senate Courts of Justice Committee reconsidered House Bill 1442, which had already passed in the House. The bill passed with substitute legislation in the Senate on Tuesday, March 4 and passed unanimously on Thursday, March 6 in the House.
Not only does the improved bill require ignition interlocks to be implemented after the first conviction for driving under the influence, it also raises the administrative fee from $20 to $75.
If the driver convicted is indigent or prohibited from driving a school or commercial vehicle, the bill also allows the cost of the device to be paid from the criminal fund.
Another addition to the bill, which goes into effect on October 1, 2008, is that the DUI offender will have to pay a $30 monthly fee.
According to Delegate Salvatore Iaquinto (R-Virginia Beach), the bill's sponsor, ensuring that offenders do not drink and drive a second time is the only way to ensure that convicted DUI offenders stop harming people. He believes this legislation fills that purpose and will make the roadways of Virginia safer.
The alcohol-ignition interlock device is essentially a Breathalyzer that is linked to the ignition system of a vehicle. In order to start the vehicle, the driver must blow into the device, which then reads his or her blood-alcohol level. If a set limit is exceeded, in this case, a blood-alcohol level of 0.02, the vehicle will not start.
Currently in Virginia, ignition interlocks are required to be installed in the vehicles of multiple DUI offenders or first-time offenders who register a blood-alcohol level above 0.15, which is nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08.