DWI Course: A Good Way To Keep Drunken Drivers Off the Road

by: Mike Miller

Virginia's DUI ignition interlock law is now a little over a year old and AAA says it's working to keep drunk drivers off the roads.

Roughly 8,500 people now have a device installed in their vehicle. As reported in www.wric.com.

That's compared to less than 5,000 who did before the law went into effect.

AAA Mid-Atlantic Spokesperson Tammy Gobert says Virginia's law is a standout even on the national scale. It requires everyone who's been convicted of drunk driving -- even first time offenders -- to use one of these.

"Much like a breathalyzer test, they have to blow onto the device before they can even start the vehicle and they have to make sure they blow a .02 or less before they can even go."

Since the law was enacted on July 1, 2012, there's been a 75 percent spike in usage and that number will rise as more DUI cases move through the court system.

There were nearly 8,800 alcohol-related crashes in Virginia in 2012. 229 people died.

There's more work to do but AAA says these devices are keeping potential killers off the road.

Even drivers convicted for the first time are required to use one for six months, serving as a constant reminder of the consequences of getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

"Not all states have that requirement but it is definitely a requirement for the state of Virginia," Gobert says.

"Mothers Against Drunk Driving believes Virginia's Ignition Interlock laws will save many lives," says Chris Konschak, of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Virginia Office. "The data released by AAA today showing that the number of people on ignition interlocks today is almost twice the number that were on them last year is a great news."

"People who demonstrated that they were willing to put the lives of anyone they encountered on the roads at risk as well as their own by driving drunk are now required to have an ignition interlock. This is a public safety measure that benefits everyone."