Virginia’s Traffic Laws Expand Ignition Interlock Use

virginia-ignition-interlock-lawOn July 1st, 2015, the state of Virginia took a step forward and made some changes to their traffic laws that could affect a lot of motorists on the roads.

To start, vehicles that assist on roadside or traffic accidents must now be equipped with lights and are subject to Virginia’s Move Over law, meaning if you see these vehicles you must pull aside and let them pass. Motorists can also receive a ticket for following too closely to cyclists, mopeds, and other non-motorized vehicles.

But the most important new traffic law in Virginia has nothing to do with changing lanes or emergency vehicles: it changes Virginia’s offering of ignition interlock devices. As of right now, if a resident of Virginia is convicted of an offense similar to Virginia’s DUI laws in a federal court, he or she can petition for restricted driving privileges. Before this change, only people with a DUI charge on record could petition for the restricted license.

That restricted license and ignition interlock program is a lifeline for many offenders charged with DUI, and now other offenders can take advantage of this penalty. An ignition interlock will let them get back on the road and ready to resume their lives much more quickly. They can continue to go to work, school, and drive their families where they need to go.

Because even a first DUI offense in Virginia is punishable by up to $2,500 in fines, up to one year in jail, a one year drivers license suspension, and at least six months on the ignition interlock program, the ignition interlock is the light at the end of a long road of restitution for their crime.

With ignition interlocks now being offered beyond the pool of DUI offenders in Virginia, more progress can be made in the keeping the roads in the state safer for everyone on them.

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