Drunk drivers have replaced the Virginia Department of Transportation in Richmond at the low end of the totem poll, and Democratic attorney general hopeful Steve Shannon wants to get even tougher on them.
Shannon is running for attorney general against Republican Ken Cuccinelli, and on Wednesday in Newport News Shannon told an annual gathering of Virginia police chiefs that he wants tougher tools for fighting drunk drivers.
Shannon said the state should beef up random checkpoints, which are used to catch drunken drivers and scare off others who might consider hitting the road after a few drinks. When it comes to punishment, Shannon wants to get even tough saying that drivers convicted of DUI should have interlock systems installed in their vehicles and second-time offenders should have their cars impounded.
"I believe that is a proper deterrent," Shannon said.
Interlock guards keep drivers from starting a car without blowing into a breathalyzer that monitors their blood-alcohol level. Under current Virginia law, a driver's car can be taken after a third offense.
Meanwhile, Cuccinelli focused on the state's death penalty. Legislators, especially Republicans, have pushed to expand the list of criminals eligible for the death penalty for killing public safety officials. Cuccinelli said that folks including auxiliary police officers should be added to the list of protected positions that include traditional police officers, prosecutors and witnesses.