Are Ignition Interlock Devices Effective in Curbing DUIs in Florida?Share January 18, 2016 | Category: Auto, Blog, DUI
“One out of every three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime.” (National Highway Safety Traffic Administration)
In 2000 the law made it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher; however, there are still nearly 10,000 alcohol-related vehicle fatalities every year. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, in 2014, 42,745 drivers were arrested for DUI in Florida, up from 42,016 in 2013.
Florida enacted a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) law to reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders. Under this law (Section 316.193), it is mandatory to install IIDs on vehicles as below:
Installation of ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of those convicted of DUI are mandatory except for a first time DUI conviction with no minor children in the vehicle and/or a low alcohol level below 0.15. The IID is also required when a driver convicted of DUI applies for a restricted license for work or business purposes (S. 322.271, F.S.).
If the person is eligible, a driver license will be issued with a "P" restriction indicating an IID is required. The required time period a person must drive with an IID can run from 6 months for a 1st offense up to 5 years for a fourth offense.
How does an ignition interlock device work?
The Florida-approved ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer mounted on the dashboard. The IID requires a driver to blow into a mouthpiece to determine if his/her breath alcohol concentration (BAC) meets or exceeds the pre-set limit of .025. If the driver’s BAC should meet or exceed the prohibited level, the IID will prevent the vehicle from being started.
In addition to collecting and recording the time, date and results of all tests taken, it also takes a photograph of the user during the test. Random rolling retests of drivers are conducted every 45 minutes thereafter.
How effective is Florida’s IID program?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study which found that drivers with IIDs installed were 35 to 75 percent less likely to acquire repeat drunk-driving offenses than other drivers who had been convicted, but who did not have an IID installed.
In December 2014, The Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability (OPPAGA) published a study of the effectiveness of IIDs.
Its findings showed:
- In Florida, only half of required offenders install court-ordered IIDs.
- IIDs are more effective at reducing re-arrests for DUI than other types of sanctions while the IIDs were in use.
- After the IID was removed, there were no statistically significant long-term reductions in re-arrest for DUI.
Offenders have refused to install IIDs. The primary reason they give for not doing so is that they could not afford it. The device can cost $90 to $100 a month in addition to the installation and removal fees once the program is complete. When offenders do not install the mandatory IIDs, their driver’s license remains suspended or revoked.
In May 2015 the Jacksonville, Florida, Sherriff’s office and the Northeast Florida Safety Council (NFSC) began a pilot program of abstinence-based 24/7 sobriety in the nine-county region. This program focuses on frequent testing of drivers ordered into the program paired with immediate incarceration for those who fail breath tests. Results are still being gathered, but there was a 12 percent reduction in the number of DUI repeat offenders in South Dakota when they tried the program.
The Florida House Economic Affairs Committee was unanimously approved as HB7005. This gives judges the right to determine whether to use the current IID method or try the 24/7 sobriety program.
The requirements of the 24/7 sobriety program are that the DUI offender must abstain completely from alcohol throughout the required time, with daily BAC monitoring.
Although 24/7 sobriety programs may be an important part of a DUI offender’s rehabilitation, the IID takes the choice out of the hands of the drunk driver.
“Drunk drivers kill and injure others every day. There are choices potentially drunk drivers can take before getting behind the wheel which involve planning ahead. We at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys P.A. see the devastation caused by drunk drivers and applaud any programs or devices which can prevent drunk driver accidents,” said Hurt By Drunk Driver Attorney Randall Spivey.