Opponents of drunken driving are applauding the Virginia state Senate for passing a bill to require even first-time DUI offenders in Virginia to install a device to prevent them from operating their vehicle while intoxicated. Currently, the devices are required only after a second or subsequent DUI conviction. An ignition interlock requires a motorist to blow into a Breathalyzer before starting the car and at random intervals while driving. The car won’t start if the driver’s blood alcohol content is above .02 percent. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 30,000 DUI offenders were convicted in Virginia in 2010. That’s more than three convictions every hour. Kurt Erickson, president of the Washington Regional Alcoholic Program, which campaigns against drunken driving, said ignition interlocks are effective in stopping people from driving while under the influence of alcohol. “If, before attempting to start their vehicle, the device senses a set amount of alcohol, the vehicle will not start,” Erickson said. “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.” If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI, call Bloom Legal immediately at 504-599-9997 for assistance and a case evaluation.