Drunk Driving Diversion: Miami Gets “Back on Track”

ignition interlockEfforts to curb drunk driving across the country are creating results and safer streets for everyone. Whether strengthening ignition interlock laws and guidelines or instituting DUI diversion programs, law makers and police officers are serious about reducing the number of drunk driving incidents everywhere. Even in Miami, Florida, an area perhaps known best for celebrities, beaches and plenty of alcohol, a county-wide program for first-time DUI offenders has been implemented in order to keep the streets safe from the dangers of drunk driving.

Miami-Dade County’s “Back on Track” program was first implemented in 2011, allowing any first-time DUI offender to pay court fines, attend education programs and complete community service in order to have the offense reduced to “reckless driving.” Since then, additional changes, such as a mandatory ignition interlock installation, have made the program effective in reducing the number of subsequent drunk driving conviction while allowing an offender the ability to continue to work, attend school and care for family members.

However, even with the Miami-Dade “Back on Track” program and mandatory ignition interlock installations for some first-time DUI offenders, Florida saw an increase in DUI incidents in 2012. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), this increase is due to first-time offenders who are not required to install ignition interlock devices on vehicles driven, including those who don’t qualify for or enter into diversion programs like “Back on Track.” Florida does have a first-time DUI offender law that mandates the installation of ignition interlock devices for anyone convicted of drunk driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15, as well as guidelines for other aggravating circumstances surrounding a DUI arrest in Florida with a BAC measured at the national .08 limit.

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