Federal officials are finishing plans to give states incentive to toughen up drunken-driving laws , six weeks after Virginia joined 17 other states in implementing a law requiring interlock devices for first-time offenders.
Interlock systems prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has consumed too much alcohol. Federal data shows that drunken drivers involved in fatal crashes are four times more likely to have been previously convicted of driving under the influence.
While some state legislatures have resisted mandating such devices for first convictions, $20.8 million in highway safety funds as an incentive may spark the law changes federal officials and advocacy groups are hoping for.
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