Bill requires interlock for any DUI

Samantha Downing

Contributing Writer

Anyone convicted of drunken driving would have to have an ignition interlock installed in his or her car under a bill approved by the House of Delegates.

On an 84-13 vote last week, the House passed a bill to apply the ignition interlock requirement to anyone convicted of driving under the influence, even on the first offense.

Currently, Virginia law requirViewes an ignition interlock only for drivers who have been convicted of DUI before or who have a blood alcohol content of .15 percent or higher. (A BAC of .08 is considered intoxicated.) Judges have the option to require the devices for a first offense.

House Bill 1197 would make it mandatory for an ignition interlock to be installed after the first offense as a condition for a restricted license. The motorist would have to use the device for at least six months.

There have been 23 alcohol violations on the Monroe Park campus, according to VCU Police Crime Logs for February 2010. A total of 149 drug-related violations were recorded in 2009 for both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses.

According to the VCU Drug and Alcohol Policy, the use of alcohol and illicit drugs on university property or during university activities is prohibited and could result in termination of employment, expulsion, referral for prosecution and referral for satisfactory participation in a rehabilitation program.

Under VCU policy, violators could be referred for prosecution by state law. Violators might face the ignition interlock requirement under this policy.

An ignition interlock is similar to a Breathalyzer installed in the dashboard of a vehicle. The driver must breathe into the mechanism and register a BAC lower than the amount programmed into the ignition interlock before the car can start.

Virginia is one of 47 states that have ignition interlock laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ten states require the devices for all drunken-driving offenses, as HB 1197 would do.

Three states do not have ignition interlock laws: Alabama, South Dakota and Vermont.

HB 1197 has been assigned to the Senate Committee for Courts of Justice.

For more information on ignition interlock laws, visit the National Conference of State Legislatures at

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