14 Jun

Ignition Interlock Devices: An Effective Tool in Preventing Drunk Driving


Ignition Interlock Devices: An Effective Tool in Preventing Drunk Driving

Did you know that about 31% of traffic crash fatalities in the United States are a result of drunk driving? How about that between 2012-2021, 10,850 people died every year in drunk driving crashes? Or maybe that 37 people die a day in an accident related to drunk driving? Driving under the influence is not a recent phenomenon but has a long history. Since the early 20th century, drunk driving has taken the lives of many and deeply affected those who lost a loved one at the hands of a negligent, drunk driver. While the best way to avoid fatalities or severe crashes would be to not drink and drive, there’s unfortunately not much that can be done for those determined to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. However, for those who’ve been convicted of DUI, or are aware that they might have a problem with drinking, an ignition interlock device can be an effective tool in creating a roadblock between a drunk driver and their ability to drive, reducing possible crashes or fatalities and promoting overall road safety.

Understanding Ignition Interlock Devices

What is an ignition interlock device? It’s a breathalyzer-like device that’s installed in a vehicle to prevent it from starting unless the driver blows a satisfactory breath sample. The vehicle will not start if the breath sample exceeds 0.05. Interlock legislation in Florida was first passed in 2002 and updated in 2009. Legislation says that the device has to be installed by an FLHSMV-Approved IID Service Provider. This is to ensure that the device is properly installed and cannot be manipulated and also to ensure accuracy. While some worry that the device will interfere with other functions of the vehicle, it will operate as usual. Some of the approved providers in Florida include Intoxalock, LifeSafer, and more. 

A recent survey found that there were only 212,000 ignition interlock devices being used in the U.S. which is only 15% of the 1.4 million drunk drivers who are arrested every year. (Roth, 2010) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration accredited that some of the low usages was due to unfamiliarity with how the device works. In another survey, Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle found that while many completed all other DUI requirements, they did not have an ignition interlock device installed due to the cost. In Florida, it costs between $2.50-$3.50 a day, but there are programs you can apply for to get money off. Despite the price, it is still a Florida law and the potential benefits outweigh the cost for both the driver and their community. 

Florida law also says that Interlock ignition devices are required for…

  • first-time offenders: only if court ordered or 6-month requirement if BAC was .15 or above or if a minor was in the vehicle, on all vehicles the customer owns and routinely operates
  • second-time offenders: at least 1 year or at least 2 years if BAC was .15 or above or minor in car
  • third-time offenders: at least 2 years
  • four or more convictions with condition of hardship license: at least 5 years

The Benefits of Ignition Interlock Devices

There are several benefits to ignition interlock devices including but not limited to the following: 

  • It keeps drunk drivers off the road. By requiring a BAC of 0.05 or below, the vehicle will not start for anyone whose breath is above. 
  • It allows those who are convicted of a DUI the chance to keep driving.
  • Reduces the number of repeat offenses by about 70%.
  • It can sometimes help reduce insurance premiums. 
  • It creates a safer space for the public.
  • Ensures legal compliance with court orders.
  • And more!

Interlock ignition devices play a crucial role in fostering a culture of responsible drinking and driving. By requiring a breath sample before the vehicle can be started, IIDs act as a constant reminder to only drive when sober. This can help shift the mindset of second-time offenders and keep them from making a decision that can have a substantial negative impact. In a world where we can order transportation in seconds through apps like Uber and Lyft, there’s never a reason to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated, but unfortunately, people will still choose to forego safe options and put themselves and others at risk. However, ignition interlock devices are a proven method for keeping drunk drivers off the road and pedestrians and other drivers safer. By using IIDs, communities promote a culture where people understand the importance of staying sober while driving and making responsible choices to protect themselves and others on the road. Ignition interlock devices are also a feasible option to license suspension that still allows those who’ve been convicted of a DUI to function safely. 

How Florida Law Group Can Help If You’ve Been Injured By A Drunk Driver

The Florida Law Group is one of the state’s oldest and most reputable personal injury firms. We’ve recovered over $1 billion in damages on behalf of our clients and know what it takes to recover a fair settlement. If you or a loved one have been injured by a drunk driver, you shouldn’t have to suffer physically and financially as a result. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could face thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses for things such as hospital stay, surgery, medication, physical therapy, and more. You might also have to take time off work to fully recover, creating even greater financial difficulty. At The Florida Law Group, we understand how overwhelming the thought of all of this can be, which is why our experienced personal injury lawyers are prepared to help you fight for the maximum amount of compensation. We will investigate the accident, evidence, and your claims in order to build a strong case. Call The Florida Law Group today for a free consultation and learn what your next steps are.