Some of the most extreme drunk driving stories have come courtesy of Florida drunk drivers. They’ve been arrested for doing everything from drunk driving naked to periscoping their intoxicated drive home, and although you hear about the high rate of driving under the influence (DUI) and arrests in the country, you don’t always hear about how many people refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test so they can avoid being charged with DUI in the first place.
Now Florida wants to put a spotlight on anyone who refuses the breathalyzer. A local Senator has filed a measure that would require escalating penalties for any driver who refuses to submit to either a blood, breath, or urine test when they are asked by a police officer who suspects them of drunk driving.
Florida drunk drivers who refuse the test once would receive fines up to $1,000, get four points on their driver’s license, and will have that license suspended for six months. If they refuse the breathalyzer again after they already refused one test and had their license suspended, they’ll receive a charge that could result in them spending up to a year in jail. Drivers will also need to install an ignition interlock in their vehicle for one year after their receive their license back or if they are allowed to drive on a restricted license.
A law like this is a step in the right direction, but the state could go one step further to stop Florida drunk drivers by passing an all offender ignition interlock law. Current Florida DUI laws don’t require all offenders to install an interlock upon conviction, but if Florida would pass such a law they would join 28 other states and Washington, DC in keeping roads safer for all drivers.
Let’s hope an all offender ignition interlock law is in Florida’s future, and in meantime, stricter rules for refusing the breathalyzer could put the brakes on anyone who thinks refusing a breathalyzer is a good idea.
The Friday Fallout: Every Friday Guardian Interlock brings you a unique drunk driving case or cases that demonstrate the impact of – or fallout from – drunk driving.