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Breathalyzer Use On The Rise For Virginia Drivers

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Ignition interlock devices measure a person's blood alcohol content before they are allowed to operate a vehicle.
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Ignition interlock devices measure a person's blood alcohol content before they are allowed to operate a vehicle.

The number of Virginia drunk drivers ordered to install breathalyzers in their vehicles has risen 75 percent over the last year as a result of a new law.

About 8,500 drivers convicted of drunk driving were enrolled in Virginia's ignition interlock program during the first 11-month period after the enactment of the tougher law, according to data from the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program released by AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The new law requires first-time offenders to place the breathalyzer device in every vehicle they own and operate. The court-ordered device measures the offender's blood alcohol concentration level.

The auto club says 229 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in Virginia in 2012. That figure is nearly a third of all traffic fatalities in the state last year.

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