The ignition interlock system for convicted drunk drivers is an idea whose time has come. While some contend that it is simply a windfall for the manufacturer of the safety device, Herndon Virginia car crash lawyer Doug Landau believes that the device and the change in the law will help to prevent needless harm and highway fatalities. The Loudoun Times reported that the Virginia State Senate approved House Bill 279 requiring Virginia drivers to have an ignition interlock installed after their first DUI offense. Currently, the devices are required only after a second or subsequent DUI conviction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 30,000 Driving Under the Influence ("DUI") offenders were convicted in Virginia in 2010. That is more than three convictions every hour.
An ignition interlock requires a motorist to blow into a Breathalyzer before starting the car and at random intervals while driving. The car will not start if the driver’s blood alcohol content is above .02 percent. “If, before attempting to start their vehicle, the device senses a set amount of alcohol, the vehicle will not start,” said Kurt Erickson, president of the Washington Regional Alcoholic Program, which campaigns against drunken driving. “If a running retest senses a set amount of alcohol, the vehicle’s horn will sound, along with its headlights flashing, in order to draw the attention of law enforcement.” People convicted of their first DUI offense are less likely to re-offend if they have to install an ignition interlock in their cars and trucks, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. If ignition interlocks are effective in stopping people from driving while under the influence of alcohol, then lives will be saved and needless injuries prevented. If you or someone you know or care for has been injured as the result of a car, truck, bicycle or motorcycle crash with a drunk driver and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.