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.

Happy Thanksgiving from Guardian Interlock

thanksgiving-partyThere’s one way to ensure you, your friends, and family, have a enjoyable Thanksgiving this year: don’t drink and drive. When you choose a sober driver to get where you need to go, you’re protecting yourself and the loved ones you choose to spend your holiday with.

Happy Thanksgiving from Guardian Interlock, and enjoy your kickoff to the busy holiday season.

Big Changes Could Come To Wisconsin Drunk Driving Laws

Wisconsin drunk driving laws The holiday season is about to kick off and with it comes big news in the world of Wisconsin drunk driving. There are four new bills on the table in front of the Wisconsin Senate, and if they pass there’s going to be big changes coming for drunk driving laws.

Here’s a look at what the bills propose and what will change for Wisconsin drunk driving laws if they pass.

First drunk driving offense will be a crime

Wisconsin is the only state that doesn’t criminalize a first operating while impaired (OWI) offense, and that’s long been a bone of contention for anti-drunk driving advocates in the state. If a new bill passes a first time OWI will be finally be criminalized, and that means first offenders are treated more seriously than if they were being stopped for a simple traffic ticket.

Ignition interlocks for more offenders

Although they aren’t contemplating an all offender ignition interlock law – requiring an ignition interlock for first offenders charged with a BAC of .08 or over, Wisconsin lawmakers are considering an upgrade to their current laws. They’d like to bring in an interlock law for any offender charged with a BAC of .15 or higher.

If you kill someone due to drunk driving, you’re looking at a long prison sentence

There’s no walking away from a drunk driving crash when you’ve killed someone, and for that crime in Wisconsin you could be spending more time in prison. At the very minimum you could receive five years in prison for a drunk driving crash causing death.

Repeat offender? You’re looking at more jail time too

It’s hard to believe that people can rack up five and six OWI offenses without realizing that drunk driving is the wrong choice. These offenders may finally get the message if a new bill requiring more jail time passes, or at the very least they’ll have more time to think about their choice. Instead of six months in jail, they could be looking at 18 months behind bars.

These bills have the potential to change Wisconsin drunk driving laws for the better, but more can be done in the state. An all offender ignition interlock law that works to put an interlock on every offender’s vehicle would be a good step for the state.

The device stops first offenders from becoming repeat offenders, and if other states with all offender laws are any indication, once you do that you can drop your drunk driving rates significantly.

Fourth of July Among the Most Dangerous Drunk Driving Days of the Year

dangerous drunk driving days of the yearThe fourth of July is a day of celebration for many Americans, but that celebration can end in tragedy if you make the choice to drink and drive. Because so many people do make that decision every year, the fourth of July is considered one of the most dangerous drunk driving days on the road.

Why would Independence Day be so dangerous for drivers? There are a few reasons, but first and foremost is the volume of drivers on the roads. According to CAA, the sheer volume of drivers who are on the roads to go to beaches, parties, parks, and other group gatherings can mean your risk of encountering a drunk driver is much higher than it would be on other days.

The celebratory mood on the fourth of July also contributes to it being one of the most dangerous drunk driving days of the year. So many people attend festivities like BBQs, beach days, or kicking back and watching the fireworks, and these parties involve alcohol so people may be more likely to drink and drive when the festivities are over.

Wallet Hub’s statistics on the fourth of July confirm that danger: they’ve shared an infographic that shows four hundred people are killed in drunk driving crashes on the fourth of July holiday every year, and 41% of traffic fatalities on that day are due to alcohol.

That’s why all local police, no matter what state you live in, will be out in force and taking part in an annual holiday tradition: the “Fourth of July Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” event. It’s a drunk driving crack down that will have police searching for anyone who’s drunk on the roads, and when they find them, they’ll be severely penalized with fines, driver’s license suspensions, and an ignition interlock depending on the state they live in.

That’s probably not how anyone would want their Independence Day to end, so if you’d like to stay safe and have an enjoyable holiday on one of the most dangerous drunk driving days of the year, leave the driving to someone sober.

Here’s Why Alcohol Affects Women Differently Than Men

man-and-woman-drinkingWe’ve all watched a TV show or movie where a woman offers to drink a man under the table. Sometimes, as the story will go, she may actually succeed, but that’s just a bit of movie or TV magic at play. In real life it can take fewer drinks for a woman to become drunk than it would take a man, and there are quite a few reasons why alcohol affects women differently than men.

Women don’t have the same capacity to dilute alcohol in their blood stream

Women have less water in their bodies than men. Men have 61 percent and women have 52 percent, so when a woman drinks alcohol they can’t dilute it as quickly as a man.

Women can’t metabolize alcohol as quickly

Both women and men have an enzyme in their bodies called dehydrogenase, but women have a lower concentration of it. This enzyme metabolizes alcohol as it passes into the bloodstream, and because women have less of it, they can’t process alcohol as quickly.

Hormones can affect how you process alcohol

Hormone fluctuations throughout the month can affect how a women process alcohol, and if a woman takes medication like the birth control pill, she could feel a stronger effect from the alcohol she drinks.

Women have different levels of body fat

Levels of body fat vary between people, but women generally have higher levels of body fat than men. Because fat doesn’t absorb alcohol, it can cause a woman to become drunk faster than a man.

You can take a look at this chart from drinkinganddriving.org to find out exactly how those drinks will affect you.

When you drink alcohol you should know it’s not going to affect you in the same way it would affect your husband, sister, brother, or friend. As long as you keep in mind that alcohol affects women differently than men, you moderate what you drink, and you don’t think you’re safe to drink and drive after a few drinks, you’ll be practicing safe consumption.

Ignition Interlock Bill Alive And Well In Massachusetts

massachusets ignition interlockThe Massachusetts Senate finished its legislative session on July 31st, but thanks to a little persistence from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and other anti-drunk driving activists, an ignition interlock that was been dead on the floor several times since 2008 has passed Senate before it ended and is now getting closer to becoming a law.

Senate Bill 1895 requires first time drunk driving offenders to use an ignition interlock in any vehicle they drive. Prior to this new bill, Massachusetts wasn’t on board with a first offender ignition interlock law. Only repeat offenders with two or more convictions were required to install the device.

If Senate Bill 1895 becomes law, there are big changes on the horizon for Massachusetts. Right now an offender has to apply for a hardship driver’s license after a drunk driving conviction. The license allows that person to drive during certain hours of the day, and they can only apply for the hardship license after they’ve completed a driver’s license suspension period.

Senate Bill 1895 changes that by letting a drunk driving offender apply for a restriction-free hardship driver’s license sooner, but they have to have an ignition interlock installed in their vehicle. If you’re a first time offender, that means you’ll be able to apply for your hardship driver’s license and install your ignition interlock immediately after your conviction.

A repeat offender would be required to serve out his or her jail sentence and enter a treatment program before he or she would be able to apply to obtain a hardship license and ignition interlock. A judge makes the decision on whether or not that person would receive the license.

Thanks to a report by MADD on their effectiveness, there is growing recognition of how ignition interlocks are the most effective way to stop a drunk driver. With 26 other states with first offender ignition interlock laws on the books, Massachusetts will be in good company if they pass this law.

Rhode Island Signing Up For Ignition Interlocks

rhode island ignition interlocksRhode Island has a lot going for it. From its stunning gilded age mansions to the magnificent coastline, it’s a beautiful state. It’s also a state that’s taking a step in the right direction as far as their drunk drivers because Rhode Island will become the 28th state to require ignition interlocks for all offenders.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo will soon sign a new law that requires anyone convicted of their first driving under the influence (DUI) charge to install an ignition interlock in any car he or she drives. Right now Rhode Island DUI law only requires ignition interlocks upon judge order, and they’re only ordered for repeat offenders or anyone who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher.

Rhode Island has the jump on other states with pending bills for ignition interlocks. California has a bill on the table after seeing positive results with a four county ignition interlock pilot program. Washington State has a bill pending, and so does Oregon and Ohio.

This is a law that can’t come a moment too soon for Rhode Island. Drunk drivers seem to be out in full force in the state. Take a recent Sheriff’s van crash for example: a drunk driver faces charges for DUI, assault and battery with dangerous weapon, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle after she crashed into the van while it sat in a construction zone. The crash was so violent that airbags deployed in the officer’s face.

Roads aren’t the only dangerous spots in Rhode Island. A teen was found passed out in a boat that was drifting in Newport. He was charged with DUI and taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

These are just two recent cases of drunk drivers in Rhode Island recently. Hopefully once the new law is signed, it works to make drivers think twice before they get behind any kind of wheel while drunk.

Florida Drunk Driver Drives On With Lethal Blood Alcohol Levels

florida drunk driver lethal blood alcoholNot every Florida drunk driver makes the news, but once in awhile there’s a case that’s publicized because it’s shocking, and by sharing it with the public, may just stop someone from making the same crazy decision to drink and drive.

It was definitely a crazy decision that got Stephen K. Allbritton’s name and photo splashed across news outlets on the Internet. It wasn’t just that he decided to binge drink and then drive his vehicle in Estero, Florida. It wasn’t just that he decided to do so with his two teenagers in the passenger seats of the vehicle. No, what was truly crazy was how much he drank before making the decision to drive his vehicle.

Allbritton was found passed out cold behind the wheel of his truck in the center turn lane of a road. When police arrived on the scene they tried to speak to him but he was unresponsive except for some mumbling. They called an ambulance to transport him, and when he arrived at the hospital he was given a blood test. That blood test indicated that Allbritton had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.495. Five hours later they drew his blood again, and he was 0.333.

Let’s put that BAC into perspective. If someone had a bunch of drinks, blew into a breathalyzer, and received a BAC reading of .20, he or she would be considered extremely intoxicated. Odds are they would already be passing out at that stage.

If that person reaches 0.35 or 0.40, it’s very likely they are about to die from fatal alcohol poisoning. They would have slow or irregular breathing, would be very difficult to wake up and stay awake, and have a weak pulse. He or she would also have pale or bluish skin and may be vomiting after they pass out.

Those are symptoms anyone with that BAC would have, but this man was actually driving with that much alcohol in his system. It’s no wonder he was unresponsive and passed out at the wheel, and what’s even more surprising is that when the police read him his rights at the hospital, he denied drinking at all.

Fortunately police had the blood tests to back them up, and he was charged with drunk driving and felony child neglect. He also refused to take a breathalyzer test at the hospital so he was charged for that refusal. He’s still in jail while his case is pending.

You can take two things away from this Florida drunk driver. One, if you drink and drive and are arrested for it, there’s a chance that you too will end up on the news. And two, binge drinking and driving is a good way to end up dead. Alcohol poisoning could be the cause or you’ll end up in a crash that will kill you or someone else.

Either of those scenarios can’t seem appealing, so think before you drink. You don’t want to end up in the same situation as this Florida drunk driver.

Pennsylvania New Ignition Interlock Law Includes First Offenders

Pennsylvania ignition interlockIt’s official: the state of Pennsylvania is the proud owner of a brand new ignition interlock law. Thanks to a bill signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on May 25th, first time driving under the influence (DUI) offenders with high blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) will be eligible for the Pennsylvania ignition interlock program.

The new law stipulates that any first time drunk driver with a BAC between .10 to .15 percent will not have their driver’s license suspended for one year if they apply for an ignition interlock license. They’d be required to drive with the interlock for one year, and if they were stopped driving without it they’d face further penalties. Prior to this new bill, ignition interlocks were only required as a penalty for repeat offenders.

The law won’t take effect for another 15 months, but it can’t come a moment too soon. Pennsylvania State Police just announced they have seen an increase in DUI arrests for 2015. With 18,801 arrests, the state is up 6.2 percent over 2014. DUI drug arrests were up too, with an increase of 43 percent over 2014.

Although this law is a good step in the right direction, Pennsylvania lawmakers may want to investigate an all offender ignition interlock law similar to that passed in other states. By making it mandatory that first time offenders with BAC of .08 install the devices, you reduce the likelihood that the person will drink and drive again. There are currently 26 states with all offender laws on the books and these states have seen a steady decrease in drunk driving deaths.

15 months is a long time to wait to crack down on drunk drivers, but the pending change sends a strong message to anyone who drinks and drive. Maybe just the idea that ignition interlocks will soon be available to first offenders will be enough to slow down the tide of intoxicated drivers in the state.

Canadian Drunk Driving Crash Teaches A Valuable Lesson

canadian drunk driving crashThere was a drunk driving crash in Vaughn, Ontario a few months ago, and if you haven’t heard about it or you’ve never even heard of Vaughn, it’s worth taking a few minutes to read about.

A man named Marco Muzzo got behind the wheel of his car after a weekend away with friends. He had just come off an airplane where he’d been drinking, and he thought he was fine to drive. Turns out he wasn’t, because he crashed into a mini-van carrying six people. Of those people, two were seriously injured and foiur died.

This drunk driving crash shocked the country because it wasn’t just that four people died, it was that the four people included three small children and their grandfather. Dead in the crash were Harrison, Milly, and Daniel Neville-Lake, along with their grandfather Gary Neville. The oldest of the children wasn’t even 10 years old.

Marco Muzzo pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing injury. Because he entered a plea of guilty, the family was able to avoid a painful trial, and when his sentence was handed down he received 10 years in prison. That doesn’t seem like very much when you consider he will be eligible for full parole after he serves three years, and he’s eligible for day parole after he serves two and a half years.

canadian drunk driving crashThe sentence also doesn’t seem very stiff when you consider the children’s mother, Jennifer Neville-Lake, is serving a life sentence of her own now. She went from having three children to being childless. She’s shared her grief and pain along the course of the plea hearings and sentencing, becoming a warrior in the fight against drunk driving. She’s also shared photos of her children during happy times, and recently shared an image of them holding hands after the crash, right before she and her husband had to turn off life support.

It might have happened in Canada, and news that happens in another country can feel like its light years away from you. But no matter where you live, this is a drunk driving crash that has the power to touch people around the world. If you’ve ever considered drinking and driving, just think of this crash and think again.

 

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