What To Expect When You Install A Car Breathalyzer

Life changes when you have a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction on record. You spend hours arranging court dates, hundreds of dollars paying fines, and you may need to install a car breathalyzer or ignition interlock in your vehicle. Although you can’t change your conviction, you can ease the transition and successfully complete your interlock device program if you know what to expect from the beginning.

How Does A Car Breathalyzer Work?

An ignition interlock or car breathalyzer prevents drunk drivers from driving their vehicle. The device is connected to your vehicle, and it has a preset level for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) determined by your state. This is typically very low, so any alcohol or even using alcohol containing products can cause a test failure.  If you blow into it when you are over the set limit, your vehicle won’t start.

All car breathalyzers must meet or exceed both local and state regulations as well as National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards. If your car breathalyzer detects alcohol above the limit, your interlock device will lock your vehicle for a period of time determined by your state – usually between 5 to 30 minutes. Once that time has passed, you can test again. If you fail the test once more, the device will lock your vehicle down for a longer period of time.

What happens if you fail a rolling retest?

If your state requires it, you may be asked to blow into your car breathalyzer when your vehicle is in motion or for a ‘rolling retest’. If you fail the rolling retest, your vehicle will sound its alarm or horn and lights will flash until you pull over and turn off the engine. IT WILL NOT SHUT THE CAR OFF.   Instead, you will need to pull over to a safe location when you can, turn off your vehicle and re-test to re-start it.

The Guardian Interlock is small, compact, and easy to use, and although it looks like a simple device, there is software built in to prevent cheating the ignition interlock. When you blow into your car breathalyzer, all information will be sent wirelessly to the court on a weekly or daily basis.

When you have an interlock installed, you will need to make adjustments to your daily routines.  The first 30 days are usually the most difficult.  As one of our customers reviewed, “Larry the installer was courteous, knowledgeable and efficient. After installation he demonstrated how to use the interlock. It seems to be sensitive to air pressure used and ‘hum quality’, what ever that is. Don’t be in a hurry and keep and eye out for prompts to blow while you drive. Good luck.”

Friday Fallout: Why A Personal Breathalyzer Is A Must-Have This Fall

personal breathalyzer to measure BACIf you drink alcohol you’ll have heard of the breathalyzer, and there are a few different kinds of breathalyzers available. Some are strictly for entertainment and don’t have the ability to provide you with an accurate reading of your blood alcohol content, while other models of personal breathalyzer are both technical and professional enough that law enforcement utilize them.

A personal breathalyzer like the Alcovisor Mars is an important accessory for anyone heading out for a night on the town. There are a few different reasons why it can be really important to keep one with you this fall.

September is the beginning of a season of deadly days on the road

The period between when school starts, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day are some of the deadliest days on the road for the entire year. The night before Thanksgiving is even referred to as Black Wednesday because it’s a really busy night for drunk drivers.

If you take a personal breathalyzer with you when you go out during this busy time of year, you’ll always know what your BAC is. That way you end up as one of a long line of drunk drivers on the roads who are pulled over by increased police enforcement and arrested for drunk driving.

You don’t want to spend your holidays in jail

Receiving a drunk driving charge is no walk in the park. One night of having one too many and at a minimum you’ll lose your driver’s license, pay stiff fines, and may be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you drive. If you crash and kill someone you could be spending your Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in jail.

Even if you blow well below the legal limit on your personal breathalyzer, having it with you may help you to think twice about driving and what could happen if you do. Any amount of alcohol can affect your vision and motor skills, so this one little device can save you from making a huge mistake.

Make this fall the year you pick up a personal breathalyzer, and if you want to help stop friends and family from drinking and driving, give them the gift of a personal breathalyzer this holiday too. Always knowing your BAC can really help you make educated decisions about if and when you should get behind the wheel.

It’s Been 118 Years Since The First Drunk Driving Arrest

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 118 years since the first person was arrested for drunk driving. This momentous event happened in England in 1897 when one 25-year-old young man named George was stopped while drunk driving a London cab. He admitted he was guilty, was fined 25 shillings, and hopefully never drove drunk again.

Because the driving under the influence (DUI) laws came into effect in England a full 13 years before they did in the United States, George was one of many British citizens stopped for DUI long before anyone in the United States was. There were more horses than cars on the roads in the first decade of the 1900’s, and the first laws in the United States stopping drunk drivers didn’t actually come into play until 1910 in New York.

With drunk driving laws comes the need to determine whether or not a driver is drunk at all, and that’s why Dr. Rolla Harger created the Drunkometer in 1931. The device used a balloon people would blow into to determine if they were drunk or not, and by 1938, some police were using the device to assess drunk drivers.

Fast-forward to 1953 and a new breathalyzer hit the scene. Robert Borkenstein took the concept of the Drunkometer and invented the modern day breathalyzer, and since that time the technology behind the breathalyzer has been improved to the point where it can now assess a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) with complete accuracy.

From these humble beginnings, the fight against drunk driving has continued to gain momentum. In the 1980’s Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was formed, and the group has been instrumental in spreading awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and increasing penalties for drunk driving.

Although 25 shillings must have caused a huge dent in the pocket book of George way back in 1897, drunk drivers penalties now include steep fines, court costs, ignition interlock fees, and the costs of getting to and from work and school because the offender will lose their drivers license for a long time.

Years have passed and times may have really changed, but the fight against drunk driving continues. You can help by always making the choice to not drink and drive.

New Mexico Has The Most Ignition Interlocks Per Capita

ignition interlock Is it a good thing to be the state with the most ignition interlocks installed per capita than any other state? One man in New Mexico says yes, and he feels that New Mexico is reaping the benefits of changes to their driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws.

A recent survey by Dr.Dick Roth, an advocate for ending DWI in the state, showed that New Mexico had 57 ignition interlocks installed per 10,000 people. This number is higher than any other state, and that’s why New Mexico is seeing a drastic reduction in DWI arrests and fatal crashes.

Since changing their DWI laws in 2005, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates that drunk driving deaths have dropped by 33%. Dr. Roth also believes that with so many ignition interlocks in use the roads are much safer for everyone, and he thinks that New Mexico DWI and ignition interlock laws are a good model for other states to follow.

In New Mexico, if you’re arrested for DWI and you’re a first time offender you’ll spend up to 90 days in jail, pay fines up to $500, lose your driver’s license for one year, and be required to install an ignition interlock for one year.

It’s a really bad idea to be a repeat offender in the state – a four time or more offender will go to jail for 6 to 18 months, pay fines up to $5,000, and must use an ignition interlock for life. The offender has the option of applying for a review at the 5-year mark, and may be able to have their driver’s license privileges reinstated at that time.

All 50 states have some type of ignition interlock law, but more states are now following the trend of requiring them for first offenders. With more ignition interlocks in use, roads will be safer all across the country.

No Alcohol For Ignition Interlock Users In New Mexico?

Guardian InterlockNew Mexico might be taking ignition interlock and DUI laws to a new level in 2015. They’ve introduced a new bill called HB 30, and if passed, it’s going to take away the privilege of an ignition interlock user to purchase alcohol.

Rep. Brian Egolf of Santa Fe, New Mexico has proposed the following – anyone convicted of drunk driving who uses an ignition interlock device and has a state issued ignition interlock license should be banned from purchasing alcohol. To stop them from buying beer, wine, or spirits, a line would be added to their driver’s license that says ‘No Alcohol Sales.’ That mark would tell servers or those who work in liquor stores that the person may not purchase alcohol anywhere it is served or sold.

This is the second time a proposal to stop ignition interlock users from purchasing alcohol has been presented in New Mexico. A similar bill was passed in 2013, but was not approved by Senate Judiciary. This time around the bill has been rewritten, and state lawmakers who support it are hopeful it will be passed in 2015.

Rep. Egolf’s idea for the bill came after he watched a man at a gas station begin to drink alcohol after he blew into his ignition interlock device to start his vehicle. That’s one of the reasons why interlock users are required to take rolling retests. An interlock device rolling retest is designed to stop a drinking driver from drinking after having someone else start their vehicle for them, or if they decide to start their vehicle sober and then drive while drinking alcohol.

In addition to rolling retests, adding a “No Alcohol Sales” addition to an ignition interlock users’ driver’s license will work to stop interlock users in New Mexico who are determined to drink and drive. For more information on drinking and driving laws in New Mexico, visit the Guardian Interlock DUI and Ignition Interlock laws in New Mexico.

Will You Kick Off Your New Year With A Car Breathalyzer?

car breathalyzerHow much do you know about those drinks you’ve been tipping back during the holidays? With New Year’s Eve approaching and people making party plans for the biggest night out of the year, it’s a good time to take a look at how alcohol affects your body when you drink it, what’s a myth and what’s a fact when it comes to drinking, and why driving after drinking can start off your new year with driving under the influence (DUI) penalties like jail time, fines, and the possibility of a car breathalyzer.

To bust a few drunk-driving myths for their viewers, Fox News did some hands on research. One of their correspondents sat down with a group of bar-goers and had a few drinks – in total the group had 8 glasses of wine, 8 bottles of beer, 10 Jack Daniels and Coke, and approximately 13 glasses of vodka. The goal was to get drunk and they achieved that, and along the way they tested out a few pocket breathalyzers and discussed alcohol myths. You can view the entire segment here, but here’s a recap of what they found out:

Alcohol myth #1 – Coffee or a shower will sober you up

One of the myths the segment discussed is how a cup of coffee, a shower, or even sleep won’t sober you up if you’ve been drinking. That’s because your body can only metabolize approximately one drink every two hours, so depending on how much you drank, it could take a long time to sober up completely.

Alcohol myth #2 – Once I stop drinking for the night, I’m on my way to sobering up

Another myth that has direct implications for drinking and driving is how people will stop drinking at the bar and feel relatively sober when they head home, but when stopped for a roadside test, will fail field sobriety tests or blow over the legal limit on a breathalyzer.

To bust this myth, the participants took repeat tests on pocket breathalyzers as they drank, and they watched their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) increased. Testing showed that even ½ hour after they had stopped drinking, their BAC was still inching up on the breathalyzer.

Watching a bunch of people get drunk might be entertaining, but the point the news segment made is an important one. Before you head out for New Year’s Eve this year remember these alcohol myths are just that – they’re myths, and if you drink, don’t drive. That way you’ll avoid kicking off your New Year off with a DUI conviction and a car breathalyzer program.


Maryland Wants To ENDUI With Smartphone App

ENDUI-app-MarylandThey have ignition interlock programs in place for repeat offenders and both driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) penalties in place for people who decide to drink and drive in the state, and now Maryland is turning to tech to continue their fight against drunk driving.

ENDUI, otherwise known as ‘End DUI’, is a new app developed by the Maryland Highway Safety Office and funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It’s designed specifically for smartphones users, because even though people are having a fun night out with friends, they spend a lot of time with their phones in their hands.

ENDUI has blood alcohol concentration (BAC) calculator so people using it can enter their gender, weight, height, and how many drinks they’ve had to get an approximate calculation of what their blood alcohol level could be. There are a few games users can play too, and they’re almost like digital versions of field sobriety tests.

One game has the user pressing a brake button when a pedestrian pops up on the screen or a car stops in front of them, and it assesses the person’s reaction time while avoiding a collision. Another game is modeled after the retro game SIMON – users watch as road signs blink and try to recall the order as each round gets more difficult.

In addition to the BAC calculator and games, the app also supplies phone numbers so users can easily contact a sober driver and has GPS to locate a cab nearby.

Although the app is designed as an assessment tool, it also comes with a near constant warning – no matter what your BAC is calculated at or how you perform on the games, any amount of alcohol consumed can result in an impaired driving charge. To really ENDUI, you shouldn’t drive after drinking at all.

Ignition Interlock And DUII Laws In Oregon

ignition interlock systemOregon has their own classification for driving under the influence (DUI) – driving while under the influence of intoxicants (DUII), and this broad category covers everything from liquor to a substance like marijuana. If you’re convicted of DUII in Oregon, you’ll receive penalties like a driver’s license suspension, fines, jail time, and the possibility of an ignition interlock system.

Like many states, Oregon has an implied consent law. That means by the very act of driving a vehicle in the state, you’re required to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test if a police officer asks you to take one. If you refuse to take a test, you’ll lose your driver’s license for 1 year to 3 years depending on if you have a previous DUII offense on record.

For a first time DUII offender in Oregon, the penalties are as follows:

  • Loss of license for a period of 90 days up to 1 year if you have a previous DUII on record
  • Jail time of 48 hours to one year in jail or 80 hours of community service
  • Fines payable up to $1,000 to $10,000
  • You’ll be required to install an ignition interlock system for 1 year after your driver’s license suspension. For subsequent DUII offenses, you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock system for 2 years after your initial suspension.
  • Attendance at a Victim Impact Panel called ‘Trauma Nurses Talk Tough

Oregon also has a DUII diversion program, and if you complete the program you will not have a DUII conviction on your record. You’ll have to qualify for the program as well as pay the fees including $490 for the program plus $150 for alcohol screening. You’ll also have to install an ignition interlock system in your vehicle and not drink alcohol for the duration of the 1-year program.

Receiving a DUII in Oregon is no laughing matter, and all it can take is one or two drinks before you’re over the legal limit. For more information on Oregon state DUII laws, visit the Guardian Interlock Oregon page.

MADD Holiday Tree A Painful Reminder For Louisiana

2014-MADD-LOUISIANA-DMV-TREEChristmas trees are supposed to be full of lights and ornaments that bring back happy memories. The tree in the Louisiana State Troop police office brings back memories, but they aren’t of the happy variety.

For 5 years the police officers have displayed a tree dedicated to the Louisiana chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and all of the people lost due to drunk driving in the Louisiana area. The tree is a vivid reminder for the officers and anyone who sees it about the continual devastation of drunk driving, and shows how these people aren’t statistics – they’re real people with families who miss them, especially at this time of the year.

The department held a dedication when they put the tree up, and they invite anyone in the area to who has lost a loved one to drinking and driving to bring in a photo and add it to the MADD tree. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people in the state who can be added to the year every year. In 2012, Louisiana lost 241 people to alcohol-related crashes, and 5,614 people were injured.

But there is good news in Louisiana – since passing an all-offender ignition interlock law in 2007, driving under the influence (DUI) deaths have dropped by 40%. Improved DUI laws include 12 to 24 month license suspensions for first offenders, up to six months in jail, fines up to $1,000, and an ignition interlock requirement for 12 months to 2 years depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at time of arrest.

While the MADD holiday tree will continue to honor all those who have lost their lives to the senseless act of drinking and driving, thanks to Louisiana’s all-offender ignition interlock laws, maybe there won’t be new faces added each year. This holiday season, make the right choice – don’t drink and drive.

Photo credit – MADD Louisiana

Ignition Interlock And DUI Laws In Tennessee

ignition interlock deviceTennessee – home of the Grand Old Opry, Nashville, and greenery as far as the eye can see. But while you’re enjoying the sites and sounds of this beautiful state, make sure you’re not doing so while drinking and driving. In 2013, Tennessee became the 19th state to enact an all-offender ignition interlock law, and they have harsh penalties for anyone who drives under the influence.

A first driving under the influence (DUI) offense in Tennessee is costly.

In addition to bail, towing fees, attorney fees, high risk insurance premiums, and reinstatement fees that add up to almost $5,000, you’ll also receive the following penalties:

  • For offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 to .20, you’ll receive 48 hours up to 11 months in jail.
  • For offenders who have a BAC over .20, you’ll receive a minimum of 7 consecutive days in jail
  • You’ll have to pay fines up to $1,500
  • You’ll lose your driver’s license for one year
  • You may be required to install an ignition interlock device for one year
  • You’ll be required to pay restitution to anyone who suffers from injury or personal loss
  • You may be asked to attend a Drug and Alcohol Treatment program

If you receive a second DUI conviction in Tennessee, the penalties are even more severe.

  • You’ll spend anywhere from 45 days up to 11 months in jail
  • You’ll pay mandatory fines ranging from $600 to $3,500
  • You’ll lose your driver’s license for 2 years, with a restricted license available after the first year
  • You may have your vehicle seized or be required to forfeit it
  • You’ll have to install an ignition interlock device for a period of time as determined by the judge
  • You’ll be required to pay restitution to anyone you hurt or who suffered loss because you choose to drink and drive

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Tennessee saw 295 drunk driving fatalities in 2012, and that number was up by 14% from the year before. With the new ignition interlock requirements in 2013, the number of alcohol-related fatalities has dropped to 211. Hopefully they’ll see that number continue to drop as more ignition interlock devices are put into place for all-offenders in Tennessee.

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