Virginia may be for lovers, but, it is no friend to drunk drivers. With a five-star rating from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Virginia DUI law focuses on all offenders that make the choice to drive under the influence of alcohol. That means that even with only one DUI offense at, or above the legal .08 BAC limit, you are looking at a six-month minimum ignition interlock requirement in Virginia.
To put this into perspective, a .08 BAC could mean around four standard drinks in an hour for an average man, and three standard drinks for an average woman. So, a regular happy hour meeting after work could easily become dangerous grounds for a DUI in Virginia, including a mandatory, minimum of six month ignition interlock installation term. In addition to the six month ignition interlock requirement, a first-time DUI offender in Virginia is also looking at court costs, an alcohol abuse education program, higher insurance premiums and more. But, it is perhaps the six-month ignition interlock requirement for first-time offenders that has made the biggest impact on the rate of DUI in Virginia.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that in 2012, the same year the mandatory six-month ignition interlock requirement was signed into law, the rate of all drunk driving fatalities in Virginia dropped by 7.5%. These devices have clearly been a factor in the reduction of drunk driving incidents – either through the use of the IID by a DUI offender, or, perhaps fear of the six month IID requirement for all DUI offenders.
If the traffic fatality reduction in Virginia is any indication of the effectiveness of the ignition interlock device, it seems each state in the U.S. should require its own six-month minimum IID installation requirement to ensure safe roads for everyone. Nobody wants to be the victim of a drunk driver, and it is rare for a person to aspire to become a DUI offender. If six months with an IID creates safer streets in Virginia, that is certainly time well spent.