New Location:
Guardian Interlock of Sunrise, Florida

If getting an ignition interlock installed is on your to-do list, and you’re in Broward County, Florida, you’re all set. Guardian Interlock has just opened their newest location in Sunrise, Florida.

Guardian-Sunrise-ExteriorLocated right on the Sawgrass Expressway, Guardian of Sunrise serves Ft. Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Parkland, and other neighboring cities and towns. It’s a full-service provider, offering installation, monitoring, training and removal – all of your ignition interlock needs taken care of in one location.

Of course, this location will also communicate with Florida state authorities to make sure your requirements are being met, so you don’t have to. At Guardian, we take care of the details so you can regain your driving privileges affordably, reliably and quickly.

Guardian Interlock - Sunrise, FloridaThe head technician at Guardian of Sunrise, Ian McMurry, is an expert in automotive electrical systems, an industry veteran with 20 years’ experience in the interlock field. That means that whatever make or model car you have, Guardian will be able to provide an expert installation and get you on the road fast.

Need an ignition interlock in Broward County? Go here to book your installation, or call 1.800.499.0994 for more information or an appointment.

Are Florida’s Ignition Interlock Requirements Enough To Stop DUIs?

gavelMaybe it’s the palm trees or the mild, balmy weather lulling everyone into a vacation mindset, but there’s just something about Florida that results in thousands of driving under the influence (DUI) arrests every year.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), even after Florida began to require ignition interlocks in 2008 for first time drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater, by 2010 over 20,000 DUI offenders were re-arrested for driving on suspended license. In 2012 alone there were 28,689 DUI convictions and 697 DUI-related fatalities.

Although MADD is calling for Florida to adopt a stricter ignition interlock policy, at this time Florida does have specific requirements for those who take part in the ignition interlock program.

  • The offender must be responsible for all costs associated with the interlock device
  • All rolling retests must be completed while the vehicle is in operation
  • All data collection is done through web-based reporting that is accessible 24 hours per day, 7 days per week
  • The interlock device must use fuel cell technology
  • The interlock device must prevent the vehicle from starting if the breath sample is above 0.025
  • The interlock device must be able to record and store visual evidence of ignition interlock use via a camera mounted to the windshield near the rear view mirror.

Time periods for interlock use are strict as well. A first offender with a BAC above 0.15 or driving with a minor in the car receives a 6-month interlock penalty. Second time offenders must use the device for one year, while second convictions with a BAC above 0.15 or with a minor in the vehicle must the device for two years.

With people continuing to drink and drive in Florida, it might be time for local government to take a good look at the ‘Sober To Start’ step of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving and pass a bill requiring ignition interlocks for all offenders.

Pushing Toward Better Ignition Interlock Laws Across The USA

Caution Tape - Don't Drink and DriveIt’s hard to believe Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been working on their Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving since 2006, and they’ve made so much progress in requiring states to pass all-offender ignition interlock laws. From only one state requiring interlocks in 2006 to 24 states in 2014, they’ve reduced drunk driving deaths by 24% overall.

This past week, Connecticut government officials took part in a bill-signing ceremony to ratify a law requiring ignition interlocks for all first time driving under the influence (DUI) offenders. Beginning on July 1st, 2015, the new law will give the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMW) the power to administratively require the installation of the devices on all vehicles of first time DUI offenders.

Connecticut joins Alabama, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Mississippi in signing all-offender interlock bills in 2014, and there are currently 4 states working to pass similar bills. Other states focused on closing any loopholes and improving interlock laws. Take South Carolina for example – the recent passing of Emma’s Law requires ignition interlocks for all repeat drunk driving offenders and any offender who drives with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or more. As MADD has stated, South Carolina has one of the worst drunk driving records in the USA, and passing Emma’s Law is an important step in reducing drunk driving fatalities.

Florida is another state with recently improved interlock laws. Instead of vehicle impoundment, judges in the state can now order an ignition interlock installation for first-time DUI offenders who have a BAC of .08 to .14. They’ve also appointed a legislative study committee to consider an all-offender interlock law.

Although it’s clear significant improvements have been made since 2006, MADD will continue to push for better DUI laws, and they’ll continue asking more states to pass all-offender ignition interlock legislation in an effort to keep roads safe for everyone.

14 Years Later, Florida Drunk Driving Case Is Finally In Court

Florida Drunk Driver14 years is a long time to wait for justice to be served, but that’s exactly what happened in a Florida driving under the influence (DUI) case this past week.

Elvin Javier Gonzalez Morales, now 33, has been living in Florida and working as a laborer for the past 14 years. The problem with that? He committed the crime of driving under the influence in 2000, and it’s just now catching up to him.

This past Wednesday Morales was charged with DUI manslaughter and DUI with serious bodily injury stemming from a Florida drunk driving crash where he killed two people. Originally from Nicaragua, law enforcement bringing the charges state that his citizenship is what delayed the arrest warrant for 14 years.

Because so much time has passed, the specific details of the crash aren’t known, but it’s safe to say that the crime was severe and Morales should definitely have been penalized while the government waited to serve the warrant. At the very least, he should have spent time in jail, had his license suspended, and, if possible, should have been required to drive with an ignition interlock device installed in his vehicle to prevent him from drunk driving again.

But DUI Manslaughter is a more serious crime than even DUI in Florida, and the following applies to DUI manslaughter offenses:

  • Florida DUI manslaughter is a felony and is punishable by a mandatory prison sentence of 4 years up to 15 years
  • Anyone convicted of DUI manslaughter will pay hefty fines
  • DUI manslaughter in Florida includes administrative penalties and you will lose your license permanently

Given that it took so long to catch up to him, you have to wonder how many times Morales drove drunk after he took the lives of two people. Once he’s arraigned in July, we’ll see if the punishment will fit the crime and if he’ll be forced to face up to the stiff penalties for drunk driving and drunk driving manslaughter in Florida.

DUI Scooters? Not A Good Idea

Driving Drunk on a ScooterDeath by scooter? It might seem pretty unlikely, but if you’re in South Carolina you’re living in a state where fatalities from mopeds or scooters are on the rise.

The state has seen 18 fatalities on scooters since January 1st, and that number is up from last year when only 7 were recorded for the same time frame. The increase in scooter deaths is due to multiple factors – not only are they small, slow, and hard to spot at night, but one of the biggest issues may be that they are unlicensed vehicles. Anyone can drive a scooter or moped, even people who have had their license suspended for driving under the influence (DUI).

With gas prices soaring, scooter use is on the rise all over the USA. Because it’s essentially an unregulated industry, it’s not surprising that a business owner in Florida has decided to cash in on the increase in scooter use. He’s specifically marketing his low-speed electric scooters or mopeds as DUI Scooters, selling to people who have had their license revoked due to drinking and driving. These types of scooters can’t travel faster than 20 mph, but they’re being snapped up by people who have no other vehicle option due to a license suspension.

Not everyone is supporting scooters for those convicted of DUI. Todd Rosenbaum of the Northwest Florida chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving doesn’t like the name, DUI Scooters. He recently told the Tampa Bay Times that the scooters send the wrong message to people in the community – ‘It’s telling people the DUI is not a big deal. It is a big deal.’

If scooters are becoming popular with offenders who have lost their licenses due to drinking and driving, it might be time to crack down on the scooter industry. If they don’t, the jump in ‘death by scooter’ may get even higher. Check out your state DUI laws here.

Proposed Florida Legislation Will Crack Down on Drunk Driving

drunk drivingWhat do Texas, California, and Florida have in common? Besides being parts of the country with the hottest weather, these three states all have the highest number of drunk driving deaths. They also have the distinction of having an increase in the number of drunk driving deaths over 2 years – Texas leads the way with 1216 in 2011 and 1296 in 2012, California with 774 in 2011 and 802 in 2012, and Florida with 694 and 697 respectively.

Although Texas and California don’t have ignition interlock requirements for first offenders, a Congresswoman in Florida is trying to crack down on drunk driving by proposing new federal legislation that would not only require all first offenders to install the device, it would penalize states that don’t participate by withdrawing federal transportation funds. If passed, the deadline for complying with the new legislation would be October 1st.

Requiring ignition interlocks for first time offenders has been a hot topic for lawmakers across the United States. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has come out in support of all first offenders convicted with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 installing the device, and has incorporated ignition interlock installations into the launch of their ongoing ‘Campaign To Eliminate Drunk Driving.’ Citing research that shows ignition interlocks reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by 67%, MADD would like to see all states join the 25 states who currently support the device for first offenders.

There is opposition to the proposed legislation. The American Beverage Institute has spoke against the legislation as it’s written, stating that ignition interlocks should be only be used for hard-core repeat offenders and those with blood alcohol levels of .15.

Time will tell if the proposed legislation will receive a rewrite or pass as it stands, but given the high numbers of drinking drivers in Florida, Texas, and California, new laws to crack down on drunk driving can’t come a moment too soon.

No Easy Way Out For Teens Driving Under The Influence In Florida

driving under the influence in FloridaIf you’re under the age of 21, you can’t even have one drink before getting behind the wheel. That’s the bottom line with zero tolerance laws, and if you’re caught you’ll immediately lose your license for a period of time as determined by your state. But a few teens found out the hard way that driving under the influence in Florida (DUI) can have consequences far more severe than just the loss of their license.

Take Erin Skye Starkey for example – the 18 year old was arrested after she drove intoxicated with a child in the vehicle, hit a bicyclist from behind, left the scene, and then crashed into her own house. When her blood alcohol level was tested, she blew .196, which is far over the legal limit of .02 for under 21 and .08 for over 21. Because she choose to drink and drive, she has been charged with DUI and child neglect.

Joshua Beckwith is another 18 year old in Florida who got behind the wheel after drinking and is now going to pay a severe price for his actions. After hitting a utility pole, mailbox, and street sign, then injuring three of his passengers, Beckwith was arrested and booked on one count of driving under the influence, one count of driving under the influence and serious bodily injury to another, and 7 counts of driving under the influence and property damage. Not only did he need to pay a $14,000 bond to be released from lockup, he’s also going to be held accountable to Florida’s DUI laws and will have to pay fines, may spend time in jail, and may be required to install an ignition interlock in his vehicle after his license suspension.

Making mistakes is part of growing up, and teens will definitely make a wrong choice or two as they grow into adults. Unfortunately for these teens, the choice to drink and drive isn’t an error in judgment – it’s a choice that has long-term consequences no matter how old you are.

DUI And Ignition Interlock Laws In Florida

ignition interlock floridaSunshine, palm trees, and those cocktails with the little umbrellas – when you visit Florida you get the full vacation package. But if you plan on drinking a few of those summer beverages, you’ll want to hand over your car keys or call a cab because driving under the influence (DUI) and ignition interlock laws in Florida crack down on drinking drivers.

In 2011 alone, there were 33,625 DUI convictions in Florida. Hillsborough County in Tampa had the most DUI convictions, coming in at 3,256 compared to Miami-Dade at 2,274.

Florida has Zero Tolerance for drinking drivers under the age of 21. If someone under the age of 21 is stopped and has a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .02 or higher, they will immediately have their license suspended.

If you’re over the age of 21 in Florida and you’re arrested of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol of over .08, you could receive:

  • The possibility of up to 6 months in jail
  • If you have a minor in the vehicle and a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, you could receive up to 9 months in jail
  • Fines ranging from $250 to $500
  • Probation of up to one year
  • Loss of your privilege to drive for a minimum of 180 days
  • DUI school for 12 hours
  • Community service for 50 hours
  • An ignition interlock device at the discretion of the judge

Second DUI offenders in Florida are required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for a period of one year. They could also receive:

  • Jail time of no more than 9 months
  • With a BAC of .15 or higher or with a minor in the vehicle, up to 12 months of jail time
  • Fines ranging from $1000 to $2000
  • With a BAC of .15 or higher, you’ll receive $2000 to $4000 in fines
  • Vehicle impounded for 30 days
  • License revoked for up to 5 years

In Florida, a DUI conviction will stay on your driving record for 75 years, and in addition to the penalties imposed if you’re convicted of DUI, you’ll also have higher auto insurance rates to deal with. No matter what state you’re in, drinking and driving is a bad idea, so stay safe and always drive sober.

Alcohol + Poultry in Motion = Bad Idea

It’s the old story: a driver, alcohol, and a chicken wing.

In Suwanee County, Florida recently, a drunk driver veered onto the shoulder of the road, then over-corrected and found his car pointing the wrong way on the road. He corrected again – right into a tree.

Just another standard drunk-driving accident, one of thousands that happen each day on our nation’s roads.

The only difference was that the driver was eating chicken wing at the time of the crash. There are lots of things that can distract a driver:

Chicken wings and driving don't mix

  • Texting and phoning
  • Pets in the car
  • Internal electronics – navigation systems, stereos, climate controls
  • Reaching for things that have fallen on the floor – always a bad idea
  • External distractions, such as street activity

To that we must add chicken wings. Or, more broadly, eating while driving.

The driver in question was munching on the wing while driving under the influence of alcohol. That’s begging for an accident. Which he got. Fortunately, neither he nor anyone else was killed. But it could easily have happened, with both his judgment impaired and attention distracted.

The lesson: do not drink while driving. Do not eat while driving.

Or the wings you end up with might not be chicken.

Could one question have
saved two lives in Florida?

Every day 28 people die because of drunk driving. Some are just victims – people in the wrong place in the wrong time. Others are the ones who make the reckless decision – they drink, and then get behind the wheel, heedless of the consequences.

28-people-die-from-drunk-driving-every-dayBut others’ decisions can have an impact, even when a driver clearly decides to drive while drunk. In Coral Springs, Florida, a woman named Kayla Mendoza was involved in a fatal accident last November after downing two margaritas containing a total of six shots of tequila. Reports say she was going well over 80 in the wrong direction on the Sawgrass Expressway when she crashed into another car, killing two young women. Kayla Mendoza has been charged with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. Her boss, Marcelo Bruzzo, was in the car with her.

Apparently it was Kayla’s decision to drink and drive, and her boss’s decision not to prevent her. But does that mean the crash was inevitable?

One question could have prevented two drunk driving deaths.margarita

Before the crash Mendoza and Bruzzo had been at a restaurant where they downed the drinks that clouded their judgment. Had the waiter asked, “May I see your driver’s license?” then the margaritas would not have been served, and perhaps the two victims would be alive today. Because Kayla Mendoza was 20 years old, below the legal drinking age.

If there’s a moral in this sad story, it’s that all of us have a responsibility to prevent drunk driving: friends, spouses, family, bystanders, hosts, and yes, waiters. When people are too impaired to take responsibility for their lives, we need to take it for them.

To repeat: every day 28 people die because of drunk driving. It’s hard to know how many could have been saved by the quick action of others on that November day, but we do know this:

But for one question, it could have been 26.

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