A bill that cracks down on drunk driving has more momentum now that both Governor McDonnell has weighed in and there’s bipartisan support in both houses of the General Assembly. The legislation to place ignition interlock systems on vehicles for a first DUI offense has failed in previous years.
The House has previously supported the measure but the Senate had rejected it. This year, identical bills are carried by Republican Delegate Salvatore Iaquinto and Democratic Senator Donald McEachin. The legislation requires someone convicted of a DUI with a blood alcohol level of .08 up to a .15 to keep an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for the sixth months that they have a restricted driver’s license for the first offense.
One change allows a driver who believes he’ll be convicted of drunk-driving to pre-qualify for the interlock device rather than wait for a trial and potential backlog from the device manufacturer. Bill opponents say it’s just too tough on first-time offenders.