Get with the times, Florida! Current laws are failing to protect the public or rehabilitate convicted drunk drivers. MADD ignition interlock advocates demand that states require the devices for all DUI offenders. The current law makes installation of Florida ignition interlock devices mandatory for six months for a first offense DUI. The devices are also mandatory if the offender’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than 0.15 percent or a minor is in the vehicle. Florida ignition interlock devices are also mandatory for multiple DUIs.
Advocates with MADD have become hopeful that the Florida ignition interlock laws may soon be changing. A bill (HB 949) that would require an ignition interlock device on an offender’s vehicle after a first drunk driving conviction has been passed by its first committee in the Florida House of Representatives. The bill passed the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, although it must go through two more committees before reaching the House floor for approval.
The devices are trusted tools to prevent drunk driving. An ignition interlock relies on alcohol-specific technology that will stop a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. The device is similar to a police breathalyzer that measures the BAC in a person’s system. If the BAC measured exceeds the pre-programed level of 0.15 percent, then the interlock temporarily locks the vehicle’s ignition. The devices also require drivers to submit a BAC sample while driving, to prove the person behind the wheel is sober.
Keep in mind that ignition interlock devices cannot prevent first-time drunk driving attempts. That’s up to us. We’re just glad they can prevent subsequent DUI attempts.
This will be Florida’s second attempt to join the majority of states with all-offender ignition interlock laws. Statistics show that in the past year, Florida ignition interlock devices prevented almost 9,000 DUI attempts. Take action and show your support for Florida ignition interlock expansion law!