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.

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