Charged With DUI? Don’t Own A Car? You Still Need An Ignition Interlock

interlock laws with no carIf you’ve ever held your car keys in your hand and pondered whether or not you’re sober enough to drive, you’re not alone. Thousands of people go through the same dilemma every day, but most already know that the only option should be to contact a sober driver or take a cab home. Alcohol has a way of shutting down the part of your brain that tells you when you’re over your limit, and it might even give you a false sense of confidence that’s enough to get you behind the wheel and driving home even though drunk driving is illegal and your coordination and motor skills aren’t what they should be.

But police are on the lookout for people who make the choice to drink and drive, and they’re ready to charge you with DUI, suspend your license, and maybe even send you to jail for a few days if you’re convicted. In a growing number of states, all offenders, including those arrested for DUI for the first time, are also required to install an ignition interlock as part of DUI penalties.

But what happens if you don’t actually own a vehicle? Are you able to skip the ignition interlock requirement completely?

The short answer is no, and here’s why – unless you plan on using public transportation for the entire duration of your license suspension, you may be borrowing a vehicle to drive. You might even be borrowing the same vehicle you were stopped for DUI in the first place, or you don’t own a car yourself but you drive one owned by the company you work for.

As part of your ignition interlock requirement, any vehicle you drive must have an ignition interlock installed in it, and that includes your friend’s car or a company car. If someone else also drives the vehicle, they will have to blow into the interlock device to start it too. Just keep in mind that before you bring the vehicle into a service center to have the ignition interlock installed, you’ll need permission from the vehicle’s owner.

DUI penalties are put into place so people who are holding their keys in their hands and wondering whether they’re sober won’t make the mistake of getting behind the wheel. Think about the consequences, and then make the choice to call a cab or ask a designated driver to take you home.

If you’re wondering what the DUI penalties are for your state, take a look at Guardian Interlock’s State law page.

3 Reasons Why You’d Voluntarily Install An Ignition Interlock

ignition interlockIgnition interlocks have been proven as an effective way of keeping drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. For first time offenders who happen to live in a state where ignition interlocks are required for all offenders, or repeat offenders who continue to drive impaired even with a suspended license, having an ignition interlock will stop them from even starting their vehicle if they’ve been drinking.

But there are a growing number of people installing ignition interlock devices who aren’t drunk drivers and who don’t have a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction on record. Here are 3 reasons why people are voluntarily installing an ignition interlock device:

To protect young drivers

Parents of young drivers have a lot to worry about. Not only are young drivers inexperienced behind the wheel, they also have a higher likelihood of dying in a car crash than any other age group. Teens are no strangers to underage drinking either, and in 2010 22% of teens involved in fatal crashes were under the influence of alcohol. That’s why some parents are electing to install an ignition interlock in their vehicles. It’s one way to ensure their young drivers don’t get behind the wheel after drinking, and the device will give a parent peace of mind when their teens are out.

To ensure employees aren’t drinking on the job

Although the US standard blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08, there is a different blood alcohol concentration limit for commercial drivers. In most states the limit at which you can drive a commercial vehicle is .04%, but some employers aren’t interested in having an employee drive with any amount of alcohol in their system. Installing a voluntary ignition interlock into company owned vehicles and having drivers blow before driving makes sense for both employee safety and protecting company assets.

To keep yourself on the straight and narrow

If you have a previous problem with substance abuse or you’ve driven drunk without being stopped by the police, you may not trust yourself when you’re out after a few drinks. Installing an ignition interlock device to make sure you don’t drink and drive is a good idea, especially because drinking alcohol can make you throw good sense out the window.

Although most ignition interlock devices are installed on a judge’s order, more and more people are looking into interlock devices for teen drivers, employees, or themselves because they know drinking and driving can kill. Voluntarily installing the device is a good idea for anyone interested in staying safe on the road.

NTSB Wants a Lower BAC And Ignition Interlock Devices

Stop drunk driving signIf you could jump back in time and visit the 1970s and early 1980s, you’d be looking at a different world. With limited knowledge about the dangers of drunk driving and no concrete laws in place to stop drivers from getting behind the wheel after drinking, alcohol-related fatalities and injuries were skyrocketing. Since 1982, agencies like the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have been tracking alcohol-related crashes, and although there has been a significant decline, they’ve come up with a set of recommendations to stop drunk driving including a drop in the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and a request that states be required to follow best practices for interlock devices.

In their report, ‘Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving’ the NTSB discusses the differences between alcohol-related crashes in the 1980’s and 2011 by highlighting statistics showing how the country has performed as far as eliminating drunk driving. In 1982, 21,113 people lost their lives every year to alcohol-related crashes, and that number has decreased by 53% to 9,878 people killed in 2011. That’s a significant decrease, but according to the report, there’s still a lot of changes to be made to get the number of fatalities to zero.

The NTSB recommends introducing a lower blood alcohol concentration for all drivers, reducing it from the current standard of .08 to .05 across the United States. They’d also like to see an expanded use of interlock devices to prevent a drunk driver from operating a vehicle, as well as assistance for law enforcement at road stops by implementing passive alcohol sensing technology to easily detect if someone has been drinking and driving.

One further recommendation from the report is that the NTSB would like to see the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) adopt best practices for interlock devices in all states, and provide state rewards for adopting the best practices.

It’s great that the fatality rate for drunk driving has been reduced by over 50% since the 1980’s, but if the recommendations put forth by the NTSB are any indication, there’s still a lot of work to be done in to reach their goal of completely eliminating drunk driving.

Ignition Interlock And DWI Laws In Minnesota

ignition interlockMinnesota might get chilly in the winter, but if you decide to head out and warm up with a drink or two, you better appoint a designated driver. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws in Minnesota include criminal penalties, administrative penalties, and ignition interlock devices for first offenses.

DWI penalties in Minnesota are more severe if you injure someone in an alcohol-related crash, have a child in the vehicle with you, or if you have a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If you refuse to submit to a BAC test, you’ll face a driver’s license suspension of up to 1 year with full driving privileges reinstated only if you install an ignition interlock device. You will also be guilty of a Gross Misdemeanor and may spend up to 1 year in jail as well as pay fines up to $3000.

Minnesota DWI laws divide penalties into two categories – criminal penalties and administrative penalties. For a first offense, the following criminal penalties apply:

  • If your BAC is under 0.20, you’ll be charged with a Misdemeanor and must spend 90 days in jail and/or pay $1000 in fines
  • If you have a BAC of under 0.20 but you have a child in your vehicle upon arrest, you’ll be charged with a Gross Misdemeanor, spend up to 1 year in jail and/or pay $3000 in fines
  • If you have a BAC of over 0.20 you’ll be guilty of a Gross Misdemeanor, may spend up to 1 year in jail and/or pay up a $3000 fine. If you have a child in your vehicle upon arrest, you’ll also have to forfeit your vehicle

Administrative penalties for a first DWI offense include:

  • If you have a BAC under 0.16 you’ll lose your driver’s license for 90 days, but you have your choice of: 15 days with no driving privileges and a limited license for the rest of the 90-day period, or full driving privileges when you install an ignition interlock. A 90-day suspension can be reduced to 30 days if you plead guilt to DWI
  • If you have a BAC of 0.16 and over and you have a child in your vehicle, you’ll lose your driver’s license for one year unless you install an ignition interlock for one full year. Your license plates will be impounded and your vehicle will also be forfeited at time of arrest

Minnesota DWI and ignition interlock laws are designed to keep drinking drivers off the roads. If you’re drinking, the safest option is to always hand over your keys to a sober driver.



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.

Drive Sober App No Car Breathalyzer, But It Might Stop DUI

no DUI signSince the advent of smartphones, there has been a wide range of productivity apps designed to help you with tasks in your day-to-day life. But did you know there are apps designed to stop you from getting behind the wheel after drinking and driving? Although they aren’t as effective as a car breathalyzer, Drive Sober apps do provide valuable reminders and are full of essential services designed to keep you from driving under the influence.

Take Drive Sober West Virginia for example – sponsored by the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, the app is designed to remind any driver that drinking and driving isn’t worth the risk. It includes a list of companies you can call if you need a sober ride home, DUI laws and penalties, information on car breathalyzers and West Virginia’s ignition interlock program, as well as what a DUI will actually cost you should you be stopped. And to give you a visual idea of what drinking and driving is really like, the app includes a sample of impairment or ‘beer’ goggles you can check out.

Although it sounds like the app is designed into scaring someone into not drinking and driving, apps like Drive Sober West Virginia are actually created to help you keep your safety in mind. In 2012, there were 5654 people arrested for driving under the influence, and 94 alcohol-related fatalities. That’s a lot of people who could have benefited from a reminder to not to drink and drive.

Many different state highway safety programs have created their own version of the Drive Sober app including Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Wyoming, and all are available on the app store. No matter what state you drive in, it’s never a bad idea to have a reminder on your smartphone about the consequences of drinking and driving.

Breaking Down The Cost Of The Ignition Interlock Device

cost-ignition-interlock-deviceOne of the first things you might think about after you’re charged with driving under the influence (DUI) is what the penalties will be. Most states will charge you an administrative fine, you might have to spend time in jail, and often you’ll be asked to attend a drug and alcohol education course. In states with all offender or multiple offender ignition interlock laws, you’ll also be asked to pay for and maintain an ignition interlock in your vehicle.

In 2006, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) came out in support of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers as part of their Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. Because ignition interlock laws vary, some states will provide an interim license and give you a time period during which you need to install your ignition interlock. Other states require the device to be installed in your vehicle immediately upon a DUI conviction. Whether you have a set period of time or you need to obtain your ignition interlock as soon as possible, just contact Guardian Interlock and they can provide a fast, easy ignition interlock installation.

The offender must pay all costs associated with the ignition interlock. Although the cost will vary according to state, MADD estimates it costs approximately $70 to $150 to install and around $60 to $80 per month for device monitoring and calibration.

If you can’t afford the ignition interlock, you can inquire as to whether your state has a program or fund set up to provide ignition interlock devices for offenders who are struggling financially.

The price to install and maintain an ignition interlock device is minimal considering you are able to get behind the wheel and resume your normal driving activities. Just imagine what it would cost to pay for cabs or ride the bus for a period of six months or one year, and you’ll see the ignition interlock is a low cost and effective way to keep drinking drivers from offending again.

What You Need To Know About Monitoring Your Guardian Interlock

GuardianVideoSidebarText3Having Guardian Interlock installed in your vehicle is a fast, easy process, and it’s the first step to completing your required ignition interlock program.

Once your Guardian Interlock is installed and you’ve been using it for a while, you’ll be required to return to the Guardian service center so they can download your event logs and send them to the authorities. The state will require you to visit the Guardian service center once every 30 to 60 days, and the number of visits you will need to make will vary depending the state you live in and whether or not you had any monitoring violations. It’s easy to keep up to date with your appointments too – your Guardian Interlock will show the number of days until your next appointment when it powers up in your vehicle, and you may receive reminders from the service center as well.

What happens if you don’t service your vehicle or you miss your appointment? If you fail to bring your vehicle into Guardian Interlock’s service center when it’s scheduled, your vehicle will lock you out and you won’t be able to drive it. The vehicle will then need to be towed to the service center.

Part of why Guardian Interlock makes completing your program easy is because they take care of all of the state paperwork. This includes details of your installation and all interactions with your interlock. As part of Guardian’s service, the onboard database capturing your compliance events is downloaded whenever you bring your vehicle in, and this information is made available to authorities at any time.

From the time your interlock device is installed to when your program is complete and the interlock device is removed, Guardian Interlock takes care of everything. All you’ll have to do is make sure you never get behind the wheel of your vehicle after drinking.

Ignition Interlock And DUI Laws In Idaho

ignition interlockWhen you’re behind the wheel, alcohol can affect your coordination and slow your reaction time to the point where driving can become dangerous to you and everyone on the road with you. Ignition interlock and driving under the influence (DUI) laws are designed to keep people safe, and each state has their own unique set of laws and penalties to keep drinking drivers off of the road.

In Idaho, you are considered to be driving under the influence if you have the following blood alcohol concentrations (BAC):

  • .02% BAC if you are younger than 21
  • .04% BAC if you are driving a commercial vehicle
  • .08% BAC if you are over the age of 21 and driving a standard vehicle

The Idaho Transportation Department notes that, if you are under the influence of another intoxicating substance, you can still be charged for DUI even when your blood alcohol concentration is less than .08%. Idaho also passed an ignition interlock bill requiring repeat offenders to install interlock devices as part of the penalty requirements after a DUI charge.

For a first time DUI offender in Idaho, the penalties are:

  • Jail time of up to six months
  • Fines payable up to $1000
  • License suspension of a minimum of 90 days and up to 180 days
  • If you are under 21, you will receive a license suspension of up to 1 year

Second time DUI offenders who receive a DUI charge within five years of the first will receive:

  • Jail time ranging from 10 days up to 1 year
  • Fines payable up to $2000
  • Loss of license for a period of 1 year or 2 years if you are under 21
  • Ignition Interlock installation in any vehicle you drive

Idaho ignition interlock and DUI laws are designed to keep drinking drivers off of the road, and even one or two drinks can result in your being too intoxicated to drive. If you’re drinking at all, call a cab or give the keys to someone else.

Ignition Interlock – Penalty Or Privilege?

ignition interlockWhen you’re in the middle of working through the penalties of a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Your bank account is lighter due to high fines, you have lost your driver’s license, and you may have even had to spend a few days in jail. It can be overwhelming and easy to lose perspective.

But there’s one part of your DUI conviction that may fall under penalty but can be actually be seen as a privilege – after having your license suspended due to drinking and driving, having an ignition interlock and a limited driving permit can give you back the privilege to drive on the roads again.

For law enforcement, handing back a drivers license, however limited or restricted, is a risk they take after someone makes the choice to drink and drive. Allowing the driver to have an ignition interlock device ensures they get behind the wheel sober each and every time they drive, and that means the person convicted of DUI can drive to work, to school, or to doctor’s appointments if they need to. They won’t need to rely on others or the bus to get them where they need to go.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the ignition interlock reduces the likelihood that a drunk driver will drive under the influence again by 67%. Even if the driver feels like taking the risk again, having the interlock device in his or her vehicle will make them think twice.

Without the interlock device, the person with the DUI conviction wouldn’t be driving at all. If you look at it that way, the interlock device really is more of a privilege than a penalty – a way to get your life back after the choice to drink and drive.


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