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GETTING THERE: DUI law tough on offenders

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SINCE a Virginia law requiring first-time DUI offenders to install interlock ignition devices in their cars passed in 2012, sales of the devices have skyrocketed, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

These folks have to first blow into the device, which detects their blood-alcohol level. If they fail, the car won’t start.

When the law went into effect, 4,725 people were enrolled in the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program and had to install the devices in their cars. As of Jan. 1 this year, there were 8,961 people enrolled in the state’s program.

It’s nice to know that recidivism should decrease because of the law, but sad that so many people are still getting loaded and driving.

Thousands of lives have been ruined, or at least negatively impacted, at the hands of drunken drivers.

In 2012, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 229 people died and nearly 6,000 were injured in almost 9,000 alcohol-related crashes on state roads.

Repeat offenders have long been a problem, and this law seems to be helping. AAA, citing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reported that “those with interlocks installed are 75 percent less likely to repeat the behavior, compared to those who do not.”

The law is tough on offenders, who not only deal with the indignity of blowing before driving, but they have to pay more, on top of the thousands the offense already costs them. Still, the old maxim stands true here: If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

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