Bill would stiffen ignition interlock requirements

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email
Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Imagine having to breathe into a breathalyzer every time you want to start your car.

Right now, DUI offenders have to do that if their blood alcohol level is almost twice the legal limit.

But there's a new bill that - if passed - will extend that requirement to anyone with a DUI offense for six months.

If you are at an alcohol level of 0.08, in the state of Virginia, you'll get a DUI.

But you have to be at 0.15 in order to get the breathalyzer in your car.

"The bill asks that it be made mandatory that anyone convicted of a DUI has to have an ignition interlock put in their car for at least a 6 months period of a time," said MADD's VA project manager Chris Konschak.

But at a price tag of about $80 a month, opponents of the bill argue that's too steep - especially for those who can barely afford to pay the ticket.

"The people who are poor that don't hit indigent but are poor we would argue they had enough money to drink and to get caught drunk driving," said Konschak.

This will be the third year the bill has reached the senate courts.

"It's a fairly large group of people but it's a small change in what the law is," said Konschak.

A small change Carter Hill wants as well. It's been 13 years since he lost his son.

"Not a day don't go by when I don't think about my son, and my wife made a comment the other day that a day don't go by where she don't wake up and cry," said Hill.

Hill's son died when the car he was in went off the road. The driver of the car was intoxicated. It never would have started if the interlock bill was in place 13 years ago.

"Nothings going to bring my son back but anything that I can do to help in this state of Virginia is what I'm going to do for the rest of my life," said Hill.

If the bill passes the Courts of Justice Monday, it will go to the full Senate the same week for a final vote.

If it passes into law, the changes will go into affect July 1st.

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