"Improving ignition interlock usage rates among hardcore drunk drivers is a top priority for us," said Susan Molinari, Chairman of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. "The passage of this legislation is yet another example of why Virginia is one of the states with the toughest laws for hardcore drunk drivers. This law along with the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) truly aims to punish but also rehabilitate repeat drunk drivers thereby reducing the deadly drunk driving cycle we see with so many repeat offenders. I applaud the Virginia General Assembly and Governor Kaine for their continued leadership and an approach to drunk driving that will truly save lives."
Repeat DWI offenders and drivers at high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of .15% or more – hardcore drunk drivers are highly resistant to changing their behavior despite previous sanctions, treatment or education efforts and are disproportionately involved in fatal alcohol-involved traffic crashes.
In other states ignition interlocks are often not integrated into a comprehensive set of sanctions aimed at rehabilitating a DWI offender. Research shows that interlocks are an effective deterrent while the device is on an offender's car, but unless the interlock device is used in tandem with other solutions such as assessment and treatment, it is unlikely to result in long-term behavior change.
VASAP provides a network of probationary, administrative, case management, and client services and the only statewide court-related DWI intervention program in the nation. Case managers classified the offender to determine the appropriate education and/or treatment services required, however they were limited to two important tools at their disposal – information and technology. With the passage of S.B. 1463, VASAP case managers now have the information they need to effectively determine the best course of action to address the drunk driver they are faced with.
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility applauds Senator McDougle for introducing this legislation, and we thank Governor Kaine and the Virginia House and Senate for taking such swift action on this important bill.
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. Founded in 1991, The Foundation is funded by distillers.
For more information on The Foundation and its mission, please log onto www.responsibility.org.
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Matthew B. Harakal
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility