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Ignition Interlock Bill gets the green light from lawmakers

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The Virginia Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) wants to put the brakes on drunk driving here in the Commonwealth.

A bill in the General Assembly this session would get them on the road to achieving that goal.

Chris Konschak with MADD says on average a person will drive more than 80 times before they are eventually caught.  Now a bill is up for consideration to help cut back on convicted drunk drivers from re-offending.

“It’s an effort to control drunk driving,” said Delegate Ron Villanueva.  “It saves lives.”

Villanueva knows first-hand the devastation a drunk driver can cause.

“I lost my sister in 1992 to a drunk-driving accident,” said Villanueva.  “Her boyfriend was drunk and it could have killed someone else.”

The Virginia Beach delegate along with other lawmakers and several groups including MADD, are working together with hopes others will not have to face the aftermath from drunk driving.

“Ignition interlocks are effective at saving lives,” said Konschak.

Friday on the Capitol grounds outside the Virginia Travel Information Center, a group gathered hoping lawmakers would help make travel safer for all Virginians by passing an ignition interlock bill.  If passed, first time convicted drunk drivers would have a device added to their vehicle.  The mechanism works like a breathalyzer.  You blow into the instrument and if you pass you are able to drive the vehicle.  But, if you’ve been drinking then you’ll be forced to stay off the roads.

“It has the potential to take a lot of drunk drivers off the road, to remind people how important it is not to drive impaired,” said Konschak.  “And just to really bring down the statistics, fatalities and the injuries we see every day.”

“When we come together in a bipartisan way and work together on things that matter to Virginians, when we focus on those issues—those sort of kitchen table issues—issues that affect Virginians every day then we can come together and craft really strong and creative solutions,” said Senator A. Donald McEachin.

The bill is now headed to the Senate floor for consideration.