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A new law in Virginia (VA) siffens penalties for all drivers who choose to drink and drive. Beginning on July 1, 2012, anyone arrested and convicted for driving under the influence will be required to have his or her car pickup, SUV or van equipped with an ignition interlock device. The mechanism is essentially a Breathalyzer; drivers must blow into a tube before staring the vehicle. Any reading above a trace reading .02 for the person's blood alcohol content will prevent the engine from starting.

During 2010, some 7 percent of accidents on Virginia roads nd highways involved drunken driving. Worse, 37 percent of fatal accidents were classified as DUI crashes. After the driver is convicted for the DUI, the offending driver has 30 days to prove they had the device installed in their vehicle. Failure to do so will lead to further punishment.

The new law has drawn criticism from people who claim requiring convicted first-time drunk drivers to show that withing 30 days of being senteced that they have installed an ignition interlock is too harsh. A common claim is that only companies that make and install the devices stand to benefit. Also, because getting the device installed can be costly, it’s possible that low-income individuals may not be able to comply with the requirments of their sentence.

Though the law is not perfect, it does send the message that drunk driving will not be tolerated in Virginia. To get more info about the prevalence of drunk driving in Virginia, take a moment to read this article written by a personal injury lawyer in Virginia who has represented many DUI victims.


About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.

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