Starting July 1, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will implement a handful of new driving laws, including one requiring car breathalyzers, or ignition interlocks, for first-time drunk driving offenders.
All convicted drunk drivers, including first-time offenders, in Virginia are actually already required to install an ignition interlock. However, only repeat offenders are required to install the device under both the court and the DMV as a condition of restricted or restored driving privileges. That means that if the court does not require an interlock for some reason, DUI offenders are still required to install the device under the DMV.
And while repeat offenders are required to install the device on every vehicle they own, co-own, or operate, first-time offenders are only required to install the device on the vehicle they primarily operate.
Under the new interlock law going into effect on July 1, the DMV will require anyone convicted of a first DUI offense to install an ignition interlock in any vehicles they operate as a condition of restricted driving privileges. Offenders must install the device even if the court does not require it. The law will close any current loophole that might prevent first-time offenders from installing an interlock.
Other driving laws that will take effect on July 1 are as follows:
- Drivers may indicate an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder on their drivers’ licenses or identification cards. Currently, drivers can only indicate a hearing or speech impairment or a condition of insulin-dependent diabetes.
- The annual hybrid vehicle tax of $64 will be repealed, allowing some hybrid vehicle drivers to receive a refund.
- The sales and use tax (SUT) increases from 4% to 4.05% as part of a transportation funding package that gradually increases the SUT to 4.15% by 2016.
- The time period active military members returning from an official absence have to obtain updated vehicle safety inspection stickers extends from five business days to 14 calendar days.