There are a lot of drunk drivers in Florida, and because the state requires anyone with a repeat drunk driving conviction to install an ignition interlock, there are a lot of ignition interlocks in Florida. Or, at least, there should be.
Interlocks are required for first time offenders if they are arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher. They will also be required to install an interlock if they have a minor under the age of 16 in their vehicle at the time of their arrest. First time offenders have to have an ignition interlock installed for six months.
Repeat offenders with a second conviction must have an ignition interlock for one year unless they were arrested with a BAC over .15 or with a minor in the vehicle. In that case, they’ll need to have an interlock for two years.
When a judge mandates that you install an interlock in Florida, you’ll have your driver’s license reinstated and you’ll receive a ‘P’ restriction on your license. By accepting your driver’s license back you agree that you won’t drive your vehicle without your device, and you agree that you’re on the hook for the penalties if you do.
If you’re caught driving without your ignition interlock, you could be arrested and your vehicle could be impounded. You may receive extra fines and you could lose your driver’s license again. You may also have time added onto your program, and that means you’ll have to drive even longer with that ‘P’ restriction.
That’s what could happen if you violate your program, but there are also some people who are ordered to install an interlock and don’t bother; people who continue to drive on a suspended license, and unless they’re stopped by police, they could easily crash and kill someone.
An ignition interlock works, but it only works if the offender installs one and drives clean and sober. Florida has begun looking into an all offender ignition interlock law; maybe at the same time they could bring in new laws to strengthen the violations for non-compliance.