Winter Troubles With Your Interlock? That Blows!

winter trouble ignition interlockIt is SO cold outside, with polar vortexes and hurricane blizzards. Much of the nation is under the thumb of a seemingly angry Jack Frost, affecting a lot of our normal habits – like breathing. Cold air constricts our airways, and it is dry, challenging our reasons for even leaving the house. When you have an ignition interlock device, the winter season can add time and frustration to your normal routine. Blowing into the interlock can be especially challenging, for a couple of reasons.

Ignition interlock devices are sensitive to the strength of the air you blow, as well as the temperature outside.

Constricted lungs due to cold air, or because you’ve caught a cold or the flu, can reduce how strongly you can blow into your interlock. If you are unable to create the right amount of pressure, your device will prompt you to keep submitting a breath sample until it can accurately measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Unfortunately, you will not be able to start your vehicle until you can blow a clean breath sample, which could mean you are sitting in a cold vehicle for some time.

Your cold vehicle can also affect more than you blowing into your interlock. Cold temperatures can cause an ignition interlock to take additional time to warm up, and you will have to sit and wait for the device to do just that. If your vehicle’s battery is too weak to stand up to the cold temperatures, you may have additional concerns about violations that appear to show you “tampering” with the device (like you had disconnected the battery).

In any case, and no matter why you are having trouble blowing into your interlock, do not take matters into your own hands. Contact your ignition interlock service provider for assistance, and allow yourself the time to cool off, or warm up, so that you can get back on the road as soon as possible.

What Kind of Designated Driver are You?

what kind of designated driver are you?We know that the safest way to get home after drinking is not to drive. That means that we either need to have phone numbers for taxis or rideshare services handy, or a plan that includes a designated driver. Designated drivers are unsung heroes, as we continue to rely on the kindness of our friends. When it comes time to return the favor, what kind of designated driver are you?

Our exceptionally scientific survey* has revealed four designated driver types, including:

  1. The Abstainer-For-Life: You probably decided many years ago that you were just not the drinking type. You have reaped many benefits from your decision, including fewer hangovers and embarrassing moments. In exchange, you are probably the first person anyone calls when they need a ride home, but you will never, ever have to worry about how you’ll get home or if you will need an ignition interlock device.
  2. The Parent-to-Be: You are either pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or you are abstaining from any alcohol in solidarity with your partner. Fortunately, your status means you are likely not going to get a very late night call for a ride home. You may, however, eventually reclaim those drinks you passed on… parenting is hard.
  3. The “Pay Backer”: Your name came up as this weekend’s designated driver, and you know you need to take one for the team. You’re not bent out of shape, though, it’s the least you can do! Just remember that even one drink can break the designated driver code of honor and that the “least drunk” person is not the safest driver in the bunch.
  4. The Storyteller: You are a designated driver for the sheer amusement of collecting stories of all the ridiculous things your friends do. You are a hero, and you get to tell the tales that your crew never wants to be told. You win bragging rights and a hangover-free morning.

Wherever you fall on the designated driver spectrum, you are doing us all a favor. Pat yourself on the back, and get some free drinks and appetizers while you’re at it. We thank you for your public service, and for all of the stories that will follow.

*we made up the survey, but the results are still pretty accurate.

The New Year Low Calorie, High DUI Risk Dilemma

low calorie DUI riskHappy New Year, and best of luck with your resolutions! One of the top, “New Year, New Me” self-promises is the one to lose weight and be healthy. Often, that promise leads to new food and beverage choices, like diet drinks and low-calorie mixers at the bar. Before you get all excited about your new six-pack, remember that light beer sixer you just picked up can actually still cause you to gain weight, and possibly face a DUI risk at the same time.

Low-calorie or diet drinks with alcohol can have two unexpected effects on a person’s judgment, increasing the DUI risk:

  • When we believe we are consuming fewer calories, like with a light beer or skinny wine, we may actually drink more. Additional drinks, even with fewer calories, still contain alcohol, and many times those diet drinks are just as potent as their full-strength versions. The result is a somewhat less caloric happy hour with the same blood alcohol concentration (BAC) risk. Some of those diet mixers, like sodas, can actually increase the impairment factor of a drink. So your rum and diet soda may actually be more potent than if you had skipped the soda entirely.

We all want to be healthy and still enjoy the pleasures of life. When those pleasures involve alcohol, remember to use your best judgment, and even keep the drinks to a minimum, at least when you’re out on the town. The DUI risk (and subsequent ignition interlock requirement) and likely is a much bigger mouthful to swallow than adding on a pound or two, and a criminal conviction will stick around much longer than those last five pounds you’ve been trying to lose. Make this year a year where the New You plans to be healthy, fit, and as far away from a DUI risk as you can possibly be.

DUI Proof Your New Year, For Life

dui proof new yearOne more year is ending, with the hopes and promises of a clean slate beginning on Tuesday. We are not here to beat a dead horse, or to sit upon our high horse. In fact, horses and drunk driving really do not have a lot in common. What we do want to remind everyone of is that each year, and each day, we all have a choice to make when we have been drinking: whether or not we can drive safely.

One in three traffic-related fatalities are attributed to drunk drivers, a statistic that has not budged much in the past few years. We have watched as states increase penalties for drunk driving, expand their ignition interlock access laws, and increase the training and presence of law enforcement. Still, that number remains pretty much the same. The only reasonable conclusion we can come to is that we are not doing enough to prevent drunk driving. We are not stopping our friends and family, and we are not stopping ourselves.

This year, let’s DUI proof our lives, for our family, friends, and loved ones, and for everyone on the roads.

Drunk driving is a choice. It is a 100% preventable crime that destroys lives. You may be too non-confrontational to take away the keys of a friend who has had too many drinks, or you may be too embarrassed to ask for a ride home when you have been drinking. However, each of those choices you make can devastate the lives of others. Being DUI proof means you do not care how it looks when you call for a safe ride home, you only care that people (including you) get home safely.

Drunk driving is one of those choices you can not change, and you cannot take it back. Be smart and safe, DUI proof your New Year and your life, and be the change we all need to see in the world.

You Have a Full Week of DUI Decisions

DUI decisionsHappy Tuesday, how is your hangover?

This kind of week only happens every few years, where there is no pause between the Christmas and New Year holidays, just a few weekdays that nobody is taking seriously. There is a sense of intoxicating freedom in the air this week, or maybe that is the intoxication of alcohol. After all, with only a few days until Friday, when we start the New Year’s celebrations early, there’s no real reason to stay sober, right? DUI decisions can make or break the rest of your life. Literally. There is no “hair of the dog” that can fix a hangover built on regret.

When we take advantage of the time off during the holiday season, a lot of us will continue drinking like there is no work tomorrow. Whether or not you need to clock in, you may want to remember that drinking and driving is still a crime, and still deadly, even during the holiday break. This complicates the week of fun you had planned because each day is just one more of those DUI decisions you have to make.

Remember that even if you drink and get a few hours of sleep, you could still be intoxicated from the night before. Morning-after DUIs are still a thing to be aware of, especially if you tied one on the night before and lived to battle your morning commute.

When you have a week of DUI decisions to make, that is a nice handful of days to make the right decision. When you don’t drink and drive, you don’t have to worry about court costs and ignition interlock devices. There’s no panic over the past and how you could have done things differently. Choosing not to drink and drive means you made the right decision, one that saved lives in the process.

Celebrating Sober Driving with Holiday Glee

sober driving through the holiday seasonEither you love the holidays, or you cannot stand the holidays. Either way, they are almost over, and you have a lot to be proud of like you have not had any problems with a DUI so far! Right? Mistakes happen, and they happen a lot more frequently during high-stress times, like in December when we are so busy doing for others that we forget our normal safety routine when drinking.

Instead of beating yourself up later, let’s try a few of these:

  • This year, let us all be present for Christmas, and make sure nobody is driving home if they have had any drinks. Today is a gift, and so is sober driving.
  • Let us try to plan our parties and gatherings with an understanding that not everyone will be able to drive home safely, so we must make those calls ourselves. The holiday spirit can take away keys just as easily as it hands out drinks. It is called balance.
  • We can use our collective holiday cheer to raise money for DUI prevention programs, like MADD.
  • We can simply pledge to drive sober this holiday season, and mean it all year long.

We are not trying to take the fun out of the holiday season, but we know enough about DUIs, drunk driving, ignition interlock devices, and the devastation of impaired driving to remind you of what you stand to lose when you drink and drive.

Happy holidays to everyone, and may the coming year be one filled with fun, friendship, and more rolling good times than rolling retests!

From our ignition interlock elves to your family, we wish everyone the happiest of holidays, the seasoniest of seasons, the wonders of winter, and the security of safe roads. Enjoy these good times and keep fighting the sober driving fight.

The Crushing Penalties and Fees for a Mississippi Aggravated DUI

Mississippi Aggravated DUIRegardless of which state you’re driving in, chances are their DUI laws have had a recent overhaul. DUI laws all over the country have been reworked to increase the severity of their penalties and hopefully discourage drinking and driving. Mississippi aggravated DUI laws are no exception to the rule, and, in fact, are among some of the most debated and severe in the country.

Any DUI in Mississippi is taken seriously. Penalties are never a slap on the wrist, as you can see by the mandatory ignition interlock requirement for all drunk drivers. When you are charged with a Mississippi aggravated DUI, the penalties become downright debilitating.

A Mississippi aggravated DUI occurs when the driver under the influence:

  • Has a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level.
  • Causes property damage.
  • Has a child in the car.
  • Drives through a school zone, or drives a school bus.
  • Already has previous DUI convictions, especially if they’re within the lookback period.
  • Does not have a valid driver’s license.
  • Causes serious injury or death.

If you’re convicted of a Mississippi aggravated DUI your legal penalties compound. The financial aspects of the penalties alone can put you in debt so far that recovery will be difficult. Not only must you pay any fines levied against you, but you might need to pay for an alcohol safety program, higher insurance premiums, the installation of an ignition interlock device, court costs, attorney’s fees, and more. Your costs can climb over $15,000 for one DUI. On top of that, you have jail time, license suspension, and lengthy probations and community service requirements that all must be met.

With costs and penalties like the above, the smarter decision is to think ahead and not drink and drive. If you want to drink, make sure there is another sober driver available or that you have the number or an app for a cab service available. $20 for a cab ride home could save you thousands of dollars in legal fees. Be responsible and always have a backup plan in place to get you home safely.

Happy Holidays, Healthy Choices, and No DUIs

Happy Holidays Mean Healthy Choices and No DUIEach year we are faced with the happy holiday season of celebration and the understanding that there is a New Year ahead. This combination of blowing off steam and preparing to do better can be cleansing, full of promise, and a little unnerving to those who WANT to make changes, but who aren’t ready to do a complete 180 in terms of life choices. For us, Happy Holidays mean balance and making healthy choices, not giving up on all of the good stuff we’ve grown to love over the year or years.

Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas or any other holiday this month, you can make one choice that nobody can argue with: the choice to never drink and drive.

It is rare that a person sets out to drink and drive. That decision is usually one that occurs in the moment, well after a few drinks have been consumed and the intoxicating effects have impaired reason. Healthy choices mean that before we leave for the party, we decide that we will not drink, we will set up a designated driver, or we will have the number of a taxi or rideshare service ready for when the party ends. Those are all choices we can make, healthy choices, that will not only keep the festive feelings flowing, but will frankly just keep us all alive. There aren’t many choices that are that healthy.

This month has the most DUI arrests than any other time of the year, but we can all change that.

We wish all of our readers a wonderful holiday season, where the cups are overflowing with good tidings, good times, and the good sense to find a safe way home after celebrating. You don’t want to begin the New Year with a DUI, ignition interlock requirement, or worse, so make sure your choices reflect the kind of person you want to be.

Happy Holidays from Ignition Interlock Help!

Will the New Utah BAC Law Keeps Tourists Away?

Utah BAC and the future of tourismWhen the party people think about their next bar crawl destination, they obviously start mapping out a trip to Utah. Across the U.S., Salt Lake City and Park City are THE places to rock a weekend of binge drinking, body shots, and beer bongs. The lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) law that passed in Utah this year was a total oversight of the drinking culture that Utah is best known for. That lower BAC limit will do nothing for public safety, except keep away the masses of spring break partygoers.

Okay, maybe not.

Yes, there is a lower Utah BAC limit. No, not one person is surprised or staying away from Utah because they cannot drink and drive as they did before. A lower BAC is not an ignition interlock device – it cannot prevent drunk driving, and it will not stop people from drinking responsibly either.

Utah BAC at-a-glance comparison:

  • Utah’s DUI rate is at .7 percent, in comparison to the national average of 1.9 percent.
  • Iowa drunk driving stands at 3.1 percent, Florida scores 2.1 percent.
  • Utah’s drunk driving rate is at least one-third of salacious headliner state Florida and real-life drunk driving danger domain Iowa.
  • People in Utah may drink less alcohol. Or perhaps they are just smarter about not driving if they have been drinking.

We all know that Utah is unique, BAC or no BAC. Regardless, a lower Utah BAC law is not going to change how tourists see the state because tourists are not visiting Utah to drink and drive.

The cries from the affected industry heads (those who profit from alcohol sales) about fewer tourists seem a little petty, considering how people continue to visit Utah and visit often. Tourism and associated employment rates rose from 2015-2016, and a lower BAC is not likely to affect that trend. Even if it did, the fact that the state is keeping DUI damage to a minimum is likely another attractive aspect to adventures in Utah.

Talking Turkey: Cousin Todd’s Thanksgiving Drunk Driving Debacle

Cousin Todd says no drunk driving this ThanksgivingThanksgiving should be a happy, family-oriented occasion with food, football, and fun. But if you’re driving to Grandma’s house, shopping the sales or running back to the grocery store for the umpteenth time, you could be in the path of a drunk driver or at risk for drunk driving yourself. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is the most dangerous for drunk driving. This year, we can all take drunk driving off the menu.

Cousin Todd was once in your shoes, with plenty of reasons to drink away the family fun.

Families can be a huge source of anxiety, leading to drinking more than we planned. Then we have to get home, or just get out, and we don’t want anyone to know that we are not safe to drive.  Asking for a ride home would just make all of that family-related stress and anxiety worse.That’s how Cousin Todd got a DUI one year. The family brings it up every Thanksgiving.

When you know you will be drinking, even on Thanksgiving, you should already have a way home that doesn’t involve getting behind the wheel yourself. You can always call a friend or a cab, or find another reliable and safe way to get back home. Risking a drunk driving offense, ignition interlock requirement, or the lives of others is certainly not worth it.

Just like Cousin Todd, sometimes our judgment is cloudy before we even take our first sip of wine. Stressful times can lead to disastrous decisions with many of those decisions related directly to alcohol. Don’t let family and holiday stress drive you down a dangerous and expensive path. Law enforcement is ready to make sure you understand that your choice was dangerous, and that is always the least of the real worries when you’re drinking and driving. Stay sober, stay safe, and enjoy the time you have.

Don’t be like Cousin Todd. Have a plan to get home, and be safe this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!

(P.S. we apologize to all of the Cousin Todds out there, and wish them all a super happy Thanksgiving, too!)