Author: Editorial Staff

New Years Eve

We’re hoping for a great year ahead, and so are you, no doubt. But if you’re a driver, there’s one hurdle you still need to make it over before the year begins: New Year’s Eve.

Or more specifically, New Year’s Day between two and five in the morning. That is possibly the most dangerous time of the year to be on the road. Why?

  • People are tired. Many people journeyed a long way to get to their parties, and are now driving home, having been awake many hours. They’re far from peak condition.
  • It’s dark. More crashes occur at night than during the day, for reasons that aren’t hard to figure out.
  • More drivers are on the road. People have rung in the New Year, and most set out for home within an hour or two after midnight.
  • Winter weather conditions can be hazardous. In many parts of the country there is snow, ice and rain.
  • Alcohol. That’s the big reason that early morning on New Year’s Day is such a deadly time to be on the road – the single worst day for impaired driving crashes. Not everyone has been sensible about choosing a designated driver or getting a ride home. Too many people think (wrongly) that because they haven’t drunk anything since midnight that the alcohol has dissipated from their system.

If you are attending New Year’s Eve party, follow these hints:

  • Designate a driver who won’t be drinking to drive you home
  • If you’re the host, offer non-alcoholic beverages and watch for guests who might try to drive impaired
  • Take the car keys from anyone who wants to drive after drinking

And of course, the big one:

  • Never drink and drive.

Follow these and you’ll easily get over the hurdle and into a safe New Year!

happy-holidays-monitech

Warmest wishes for a happy holiday and a safe New Year. Please drive safely and, of course, use a designated driver if you’re drinking. A lot depends on it.

– Monitech Ignition Interlock

After a DUI conviction in North Carolina, you license will be suspended for 45 days, during which it is illegal for you to operate a vehicle.  After you serve that suspension, you can apply for limited driving privileges which allow you to drive to work and for essential things such as child care and medical appointments.  

It’s important to note that in addition to applying for the limited driving license with the DMV, you will be required to enroll in and complete a substance abuse evaluation, call your insurance company for a special statement of financial responsibility (called an SR-22 certificate) and, in  some instances, install an ignition interlock in the vehicle you drive. Monitech is headquartered in North Carolina and has been providing residents with reliable interlock devices for over 30 years. Our dedicated state experts can help you with every step of the program, from finding out if you need an interlock to installation, monitoring and license recovery.  

The specific laws related to ignition interlocks can be found in the North Carolina Statutes.  You should ask questions to make sure you understand all the requirements to get you back on the road safely and legally.  

For more general information about alcohol impaired driving arrests in North Carolina, here’s a great article from the Charlotte Observer.   

 

american-drunk-drivers

How many American drunk drivers are there? It’s a tricky question to answer, since we usually hear only about the ones who are arrested. There are many more who don’t make it into the news, even though they are guilty of the same crime.

The Centers for Disease Control did a survey to find out how many adults admitted to driving drunk during a given month. The answer was chilling: an estimated 4.2 million adults said they had driven while impaired by alcohol.  Multiply that by 12, and you get 121 million episodes of drunk driving each year.

That doesn’t give us the number of people who drive drunk – many of those episodes will be repeats by the same drivers. A more conservative, but still chilling, estimate was proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in a survey they did. They found that 8 percent of drivers, or 17 million Americans, admitted to driving under the influence that year (2008).

Country of the Drunk Drivers

If all American drunk drivers – those who admitted to NHTSA that they drove impaired – were given their own country to live in, what would it look like? For one thing, the population would larger than quite a few countries, among them Belgium, Greece, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Portugal, and Sweden.

It would not only be large, it would be dangerous. On any particular day, 46,500 people would be driving drunk.

Here’s the strange thing: about 80 percent of females and three-quarters of males in that fully-drunk-driving population thought that driving under the influence was a threat to their safety and the safety of others.  But that didn’t stop them from doing it.

And why do fewer males believe that drunk driving is dangerous?

Of course, there is no country of drunk drivers – those 17 million people are scattered all over the United States. Most of them get away with their crime – at least for a while – but a still-staggering number cause injury and death, and still more are arrested before they have a chance to do harm. We have to deal with them in our country, by catching them, punishing them, preventing further offenses with ignition interlocks, and when possible, by educating them to choose alternatives like designated drivers.

But the best thing we can all do for the Country of Drunk Drivers is not to visit it – ever.

ignition-interlocks-on-motorcycles-nc

Ignition interlock providers in every state get calls regularly asking, “Can I put an interlock device on my motorcycle?” In most states the answer is no, but North Carolina bikers can install ignition interlocks on motorcycles and keep moving on two wheels. Here’s what you need to know

Yes, You Must Install One On Your Bike

If you have an ignition interlock requirement in North Carolina, the mandate applies to all vehicles registered to you. So if you have, say, a car and a motorcycle registered in your name, you must put an interlock on both if you intend to use both. The alternative, if you wish to give up riding for the duration of your interlock period, would be to de-register the bike.

Take note: if you register the bike in someone else’s name – a spouse, say – you still cannot ride it unless there is an interlock on the bike. In North Carolina an ignition interlock restriction applies to any vehicle you drive.

Rule One: Pull Over for Re-Tests

The demands of motorcycle riding are unique, and you need to make some accommodations if you have an interlock on your bike. Most important: when you get a signal that it’s time for a re-test, you must pull over to perform the test. This is a vital safety precaution, and is non-negotiable. In a car it’s a simple matter to take a breath test while driving. You can keep a hand on the wheel and your eyes on the road. But motorcycles demand two-handed control, so there are no rolling re-tests, as in a car: it must be a side-of-the-road re-test.

Weather and Your Ignition Interlock

As a motorcyclist, you’re more aware than most of the weather. Ignition interlock devices are durable, but they’re not weatherproof. If you leave your bike outside, your device can get exposed to the elements. This could cause problems with your device. Always remember to bring your handset inside when you park your bike in the open air.

Happy Riding

Ignition interlocks are designed to enable driving, not restrict it. At Monitech we’re dedicated to keeping you on the beautiful roads of North Carolina, while making those roads safer for everyone. To everybody in the state with ignition interlocks on motorcycles: we wish you happy and safe riding. To learn more about ignition interlocks in North Carolina, call Monitech at 800-521-4246. The roads are out there, waiting for you.

repeat-dui-offenders-arizona

A recent arrest in Arizona highlights one of the problems that states have with their DUI laws: creating  ones that keep repeat offenders off the road. In El Mirage a man was arrested for his fourth DUI, just five days after pleading guilty to his third.

Repeat drunk driving is a complex problem, partly because it’s not the whole problem. A study by the American Psychological Association noted that repeat drunk driving is part of a larger pattern which often includes other crimes and disorders. This condition – what psychiatrists called psychiatric comorbidity – is the reason that measure that punish drunk driving on its own don’t always work.

Ignition interlocks have a good record of reducing recidivism because they don’t work by punishing the offender, but by disabling the vehicle directly if the driver has been drinking. Many offenders, faced with this obstacle, re-evaluate their life choices and stop driving drunk.

Repeat Offenders Have Multiple Issues

There are persistent repeat offenders, and they must be dealt with differently, because they are very different people. The problems that lead to repeat drunk driving need to be addressed. In the study by doctors from Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance, repeat DUI offenders were placed in a 2-week in-patient treatment program. The program addressed not only alcohol abuse and dependence but also depression, gambling disorder, bipolar disorder, PTSD, attention deficit disorder, and other conditions.

Then came the work: lengthy treatment and follow-up. The result was that within a year, only 2.6 percent of the group had been arrested for another DUI. Within 5 years, only 7.5 percent had.

The Role of Ignition Interlocks

Ignition interlocks play a vital role in preventing first DUI offenders from becoming repeat offenders.  Extensive research has shown that the devices save lives by keeping drunk drivers off the road. While they work on their own, they are even more effective when part of a sobriety court or other program that includes treatment for the issues that accompany drunk driving behavior. Only when all-offender ignition interlock laws are accompanied by thorough mental health treatment will we make headway with serious repeat DUI offenders.

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