Save Money On Your Ignition Interlock

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.”

3 Reasons Why You’d Get Locked Out Of Your Ignition Interlock Device

ignition interlock deviceOnce you’ve had an ignition interlock installed in your vehicle for awhile, it becomes fairly routine to use. When you want to start your vehicle, just pick up the interlock device, blow into it, and you’re free to drive as your license provides. But what happens if you get ‘locked out’ or can’t start your car because of your ignition interlock device? It is frustrating, so here are some common reasons and suggested solutions.

Here are 3 reasons why you’d get locked out of your ignition interlock device:

 

Failed Test

One reason why your ignition interlock device won’t let you start your vehicle is because you have alcohol on your breath. The threshold for the amount of alcohol you can have in your system before driving will vary according to state, but it is ALWAYS lower than .08.  Alcohol from foods (like vanilla extract), mouthwash, toothpaste, even hand sanitizer and windshield wiper fluid all contain alcohol and can impact your reading.  If you fail and you haven’t been drinking, rinse your mouth with water, open the car windows to dissipate any environmental alcohol and try again when prompted by the device.  Keep in mind that if you were drinking the night before, your BAC may still be above the state-allowed limit to use an interlock equipped vehicle.   While driving, if you are required by the state to take a “rolling re-test” make sure to avoid drinking, eating or smoking while driving.  Don’t vape.  Changes to your usual activities and incorporating the interlock take time and patience.   You will get used to it.

Missed Service Appointment

Once you install your ignition interlock device, you’ll need to attend regular service appointments. Intervals vary between 30, 60 and 90 days.  We send a reminder email to you prior to your scheduled appointment.  The best plan is to make your next appointment at the time of your current one.  A Guardian Interlock device will give you daily reminders of when your service appointment will be, and if you miss your appointment, your vehicle will be put in permanent lockout. At that point you’ll have to have it towed into the service center for a lockout reset, so be sure to always attend your service appointments.

Changes were made to the vehicle or the device

If you try to remove or disable the device yourself, you could be locked out of your vehicle. If you need to work on your car, including replacing a battery or getting an oil change, call us FIRST.  You will need a mechanic’s affidavit for the state and a special code for the mechanic to bypass the interlock.  Not doing these things before you service your car will read as an attempt to circumvent it.   That’s a state violation.

Before Your Guardian Interlock Installation — Car Batteries and Interlocks

Good work scheduling your appointment to have your interlock installed. Before you go to your appointment, you will want to check the battery on your car so your program runs smoothly.

An interlock is an electronic car accessory, and like all accessories, it is always taking a little bit of charge from your car’s battery. Like the radio, remote start or any other accessory, a fully charged battery and properly operating alternator are important to ensure that your car can handle the load with ease.

Check the battery on your car. Fully charged automotive batteries should measure at 12.6 volts or above. When the engine is running, this measurement should be 13.7 to 14.7 volts (this means your alternator is charging the battery as the car runs). Most auto parts stores can check your battery and your alternator before you go to your installation appointment.

Run the car regularly. An interlock is an “always on” accessory, meaning that even when your car is parked the interlock draws a bit of charge. Even if you are not driving daily, it’s a good idea to start your car and let it run so the alternator can keep the battery at full charge.

We check too. Your installation technical will also test your battery before installing the interlock and will recommend replacing it if it is not sufficiently powered.

By following these steps, you and your car will be prepared for your interlock installation.

DUI in Colorado: What is “Per Se” and “Implied Consent”?

If you have been arrested for DUI in Colorado, license sanctions take effect immediately after you register a blood alcohol concentration in excess of .08.   This is known as a per se law, and it means that even if you have not yet been convicted of a drunk driving offense in court, the Colorado Department of Revenue (the state agency in charge of driver’s licenses) will take action regarding your ability to drive legally.  The reading of .08 is enough to consider the driver impaired.

Implied consent means that if you accept a driver’s license from the state, you have given consent to a blood alcohol measurement if a law enforcement officer reasonably suspects you are driving under the influence.  If you refuse a chemical test after being asked to take one, the implied consent law means that the Colorado Department of Revenue can suspend your license for one year, regardless of if you are ultimately convicted of DUI or not.   

The detailed, official state information on Colorado DUI law and interlock restricted licenses can be found here.     

At Guardian Interlock, we can help you with early license reinstatement by installing an ignition interlock.  Once you install an interlock and meet other requirements for a restricted license, you can continue to drive safely and legally, keeping in compliance with State Laws.  Get your life back on track and back on the road after your drunk driving arrest.  

Call Guardian Ignition Interlock today at 800-499-0994 to talk with us about the requirements to get back on the road.  

List: Cities Where Texas Drunk Drivers Die Most Frequently

texas-dui-fatalitiesA Texas law firm has been paying attention to drunk driving in the state, in order to answer the question: Where are you most likely to be killed by a drunk driver in Texas?

Why ask the question? Drunk drivers are dangerous everywhere – they injure, kill, and cause sorrow and distress in every city and county.  But perhaps focusing on fatalities will get the attention of those who have the ability to prevent this crime. A drunk driver, after all, kills one person every 51 minutes in this country.

The list, compiled by Sutliff & Stout Injury and Accident Law Firm, uses TXDOT data to calculate which major towns and cities have the most DUI fatalities per capita.

As it turns out, these cities are the ones that came out the worst. The numbers refer to the number of alcohol-related fatalities per 100,000 population.

  • Odessa 6.26
  • Midland 6.19
  • Dallas 5.88
  • San Marcos 5.21
  • San Antonio 5.15
  • Baytown 5.12
  • Longview 5.09
  • Waco 4.63
  • Houston 4.36
  • Lubbock 4.1

What can we learn from this list? The cities range from Houston, with a population of 2.3 million, to San Marcos, which has just 62,000 people.  Geographically they are all over the map, and their economic and demographic profiles are different.

Here are some possible factors that unite this cities in this unhappy group:

  • Culture of Drinking and Drunk Driving. Drinking is more popular in some places than others, and drunk driving is tolerated more in some places as well. No one knows exactly why this is, but it might be that people tend to be more easygoing about letting friends drive drunk in Odessa than they are in, say, Frisco or Brownsville, which have low DUI fatality numbers.
  • Enforcement presence. If you know you are going to get pulled over, you’re more likely to watch what you drink before driving.  Cities with active sobriety checkpoints and DUI patrols not only catch more drunk drivers, but also warn other drivers to behave themselves.
  • Interlock compliance. Texas has a good all-offender ignition interlock law. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. All those convicted of DUI are required to install the device. But not all offenders do. It’s very possible that some municipalities have a more lax oversight on interlock compliance, which means that it’s easier for first offenders to become repeat offenders who cause DUI fatalities.

There may be other reason, and we hope that other public-spirited institutions follow the example of Sutliff & Stout and dig into the data to reveal more about how and why we drink and drive, and how we can prevent it.

Driving Drunk With a Child in the Car Equals Child Abuse

new-mexico-child-endangerment

You may love your children more than anything in the world. You may treat them well, keeping them out of harm and never laying a hand on them.  But if you let them ride in a car that you’re driving drunk, you’re a child abuser.

So says, most recently, the Las Cruces Police.  A man from Hatch, New Mexico was driving in Las Cruces recently when, according to reports the police received, he swerved across a couple of lanes on Solano Drive.  When he was stopped, the police found several cans of beer, an odor of alcohol – and two boys, aged 8 and 10.

Once the failed the breathalyzer test, he was charged with two counts of child abuse as well as aggravated DWI.

Unlike most states, New Mexico does not have a specific child endangerment law which raises the penalties if a drunk driver has minors in the vehicle.  However, drivers can be charged with child abuse, which is a third degree felony in New Mexico, carrying a 3-year prison sentence and fines of up to $5,000.  And that is just for a first offense.

The need for such laws is understandable: as bad as drunk driving is, it’s worse when adults betray the trust that children place in them by endangering them.

Here, though, is another way to look at it: all drunk driving can be child endangerment. Impaired drivers don’t just risk their own lives or those of their passengers. They’re also placing at risk other drivers, other passengers, and pedestrians.  Those can include children, and sadly, they often have.

All DWI laws exist for the protection of innocents. The most vulnerable of us need the extra protection afforded by child endangerment and child abuse laws. For that reason, road safety advocates have for many years pressed for stronger measures for those who put young lives at risk.

Tennessee DUI Drivers: No Alcohol Sales for 8 Years?

tennessee-dui-no-alcohol-saleWhat’s the cause of drunk driving? You could say it’s alcohol, because you can’t drive drunk without it. However, if that’s true, you could also say that vehicles are the cause, because you need those too. In fact, impaired driving – particularly repeat drunk driving – is a complex problem requiring a varied set of solutions.

Some legislators in Tennessee have decided that selling alcohol to convicted drunk drivers is what causes repeat offenses. Their prevention strategy is to prohibit alcohol sales to anyone convicted of a Tennessee DUI.

  • First offense – prohibition for one year
  • Second offense – prohibition for two years
  • Third offense – prohibition for eight years

The original bill, HB 1698, stipulated a lifetime ban for a third offense, but that was obviously deemed too harsh, and it was amended.

How the Alcohol Sale Ban Would Work

If convicted for a Tennessee DUI, an offender would receive a new license with a red strip on it, indicating that the possessor is banned from buying alcohol. Presumably the regular license would be restored after the restriction period is over.

Yes, But Will it Work?

There is evidence that various restrictions on alcohol sales can be helpful in reducing drunk driving on the whole. For instance, a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that higher alcohol taxes save lives on the road.

However, people have been known to obtain alcohol despite legal prohibitions – witness the amount of underage drinking in this country.

Better Solution: Longer Ignition Interlock Periods

Ultimately, the problem isn’t the purchase of the alcohol but the use of it while driving. The best way to address that crime is with an ignition interlock, which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. Tennessee already has a good interlock law, but if legislators want to prevent a motorist from driving drunk for 8 years, then an 8-year interlock term would be a better idea than an 8-year prohibition on alcohol sales. The interlock protects the public from the offender’s decision to drink and drive

We all understand that, when it comes to impaired drivers taking lives on Tennessee roads, Something Must Be Done. But level heads should prevail and preventions chosen which are proven to work. That’s what Tennessee needs and deserves.

Missouri Once Again Spurns DUI Checkpoints

no-missouri-dui-checkpointsSobriety checkpoints – roadblocks at which police stop cars and ask drivers if they’ve been drinking – are controversial. Most states at least permit them, and many use them as an efficient means of catching drunk drivers before they do harm.

But ten states have outlawed them on the basis that they conflict with the state constitution.

Missouri is on the fence. Missouri DUI checkpoints have not been outlawed, but for the second year in a row the Missouri House Appropriations Committee has allotted just $1 per year to them, signaling disdain for a law enforcement tool that is a staple in neighboring states.

The Case for Sobriety Checkpoints

The Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that sobriety checkpoints met Fourth Amendment requirements. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. The court ruled, essentially, that the “search” aspect of a DWI checkpoint was not invasive enough, as it just involved a slight delay and a question or two from the police officer. That is, the court implied, a far cry from storming into a home and emptying file cabinets.

Keep in mind that offices cannot just stop whatever driver they choose: the checkpoints must be announced beforehand, and a guidelines must be set: every tenth driver, say – so that discrimination does not come into play.

Moreover, sobriety checkpoints do work. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that checkpoints can slice a good 20 percent off alcohol-related fatality numbers. Not only do officers at roadblocks nab drunk drivers, but drivers who pass the checkpoints on a night out tend to be more careful about drinking afterwards. The deterrent effect is well-known.

The Case Against Sobriety Checkpoints

Opponents of DUI checkpoints believe that stopping multiple drivers without any probable cause is an unreasonable search, and exactly what the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent. Stopping people and demanding to see their licenses is, for some, a tactic too close to police-state methods. There are also worries that the checkpoints exist to troll for fines and target undocumented immigrants. The dissenting Supreme Court judges in the 1990 case cited other rulings which condemned “suspicionless random stops of motorists for investigatory purposes.”

The Good News: Saturation Patrols, Ignition Interlocks

Even without DUI checkpoints, Missouri has resources to fight drunk driving – the Appropriations Committee allotted $20 million for anti-DUI efforts. The most effective of these are:

  • Saturation patrols, in which officers are concentrated in a single area for the purpose of seeking out drunk driviers
  • Ignition interlocks – Missouri requires ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders. The devices prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking

For the present, Missouri DUI checkpoints are not a thing. Legislators have made their choice, and it’s up to law enforcement to use the tools available to keep the state’s roads safe.

Driving on 4 Flat Tires: “Is Something Wrong, Officer?”

driving-with-four-flat-tires-duiMaybe you read about a winner of the Miss Washington pageant who had to give up her crown in 2016 because she was arrested for DUI after she was pulled over for driving with two flat tires.

Recently Florida was the scene of an event twice as dramatic. A motorist was arrested in Port Lucie for driving with four flat tires. The woman was pulled over not just for the flats, but for driving under 10 miles an hour in a 40 mph zone.

What makes the story a bit scary is that the woman in question did not think anything was wrong. If you’ve ever driven with one flat tire, much less four, you know that it does not feel normal.

Alcohol, however, dulls the senses. It dulls the hearing, so she might not have heard the rims clanging on the asphalt. It diminishes concentration, which is why she might not have noticed that the 2012 Honda CR-V was a bit harder to steer than usual.

That’s scary because if she was oblivious to the effects of driving with four flat tires, she would have been oblivious to any car or pedestrian she hit as well.

Fortunately, no cars or people were hit. But the fact remains that it’s possible to get in a car and drive despite a level of impairment that is almost incapacitating. That is the reason that ignition interlocks are the preferred response to drunk driving. It’s far too easy to drive a car drunk. Having an ignition interlock makes it impossible, which helps protect society from repeat drunk drivers.

Florida should require ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenses, as 31 states now do. It’s up to concerned citizens to make this happen. The drunk drivers aren’t listening – as we’ve just seen, they can’t even hear.

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