Category: General Information

st-patricks-day-ireland

St. Patrick’s Day is popular with Americans, even those who have not a drop if Irish in their blood. The day is an excuse to wear green, sip green beer, dig up some Sligo fiddle tunes and even nibble some corned beef and cabbage. It’s not the cabbage that causes trouble, though: it’s the beer. The holiday is infamous for drinking, and worse, drinking and driving.

This might be a good time to inform revelers that Ireland itself is not a hospitable place for drunk drivers. Unlike the US, with its comparatively high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08, Ireland prosecutes anyone with a level of .05 or more for impaired driving. The usual punishment is a 2-year driving ban and a fine of 1,500 Euros.

Americans sometimes see Ireland as a nation of enthusiastic drinkers, with their Guinness and their Irish whiskey. But getting hammered and driving is not a fitting tribute to the Irish. They know better – hence their strict laws – and you should too.

This St. Patrick’s Day, make a plan. Line up a designated driver beforehand, or leave the car keys at home and take a taxi to wherever you’re celebrating. And don’t let any of your friends drive drunk either.

This March 17th, do like the Irish and show your friends a good time. But leave the wheels at home.

3-arizona-dui-charges-shirts

While a number of Arizona’s road safety laws could use some improvement, it’s well known that the state’s drunk driving laws are fine specimens that other states should imitate. One of the ways in which Arizona deals with the problem of impaired drivers is to put some thought into classification: not all drunk driving crimes are created equal.

Arizona police can charge you with one of 3 types of DUI, depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Standard DUI

If your BAC is at least .08 but below .15, you will face a standard DUI charge. This is a serious crime whose penalties include jail time and fines of around $1,500 for a first offense and more than twice that for a repeat offense. An ignition interlock is required for all DUIs in Arizona as well.

Extreme DUI

If you are arrested with a BAC of between .15 and .19 – a very serious level of impairment which makes the driver a lethal hazard on the road – you will be charged with Extreme DUI. In this case you could be imprisoned for a month and pay over $3,000 in fines plus other fees and costs – and that is only if it’s a first offense. In addition, you will have an ignition interlock for 18 months. If the extreme DUI is a repeat offense, expect to spend up to 6 months in jail and pay fines exceeding $3,700.

Super Extreme DUI

This charge is somewhat rare among US state laws. If you are arrested and your blood alcohol test reveals a concentration of above .20 – two and a half times the legal intoxication limit – you are in serious trouble. Jail time is 45 days, though home detention is a possibility after a few days. For repeat offenses, the jail sentence can be 6 months, with fines of about $4,600 plus other costs.

Screening for alcohol abuse problems and, if applicable, treatment is also a requirement for all of these offenses. For most of them, a community service requirement is also part of the package.

Why BAC?

There are a number of ways to judge the severity of a drunk driving offense. One is whether or not the driver caused property damage or injury. Another is whether a minor was put in danger. In fact, aggravating circumstances like those will have an effect on the sentencing as well.

But blood alcohol concentration is the primary gauge of DUI because the worse the impairment, the more likely that someone will come to harm. Statistics back that up, and Arizona is right to bump up penalties for high-BAC DUIs.

All drunk driving, however, is a crime, and enough people are killed and injured by people with a BAC in the low range that those offenses need to be taken seriously as well.

Over the ten years between 2007 and 2016, alcohol-related crashes in Arizona have gone from almost 8,000 per year to less than 5,000. Deaths have been lowered from 397 to 302, and injuries from 5,532 to 3,324. That’s a testament to Arizona’s determination to fight drunk driving with strong laws – including an all-offender ignition interlock law and extra penalties for extreme and super-extreme DUIs.

happy-new-year-monitech

A lot has happened this year. And if you care about drunk driving, you had a lot to think about. At Monitech we’ve been thinking about it too.

We’ve been thinking about all the unintended consequences of drunk driving.  And how things like a lack of sleep can cause students to drive drunk, and why women have it tougher in general in the battle to keep from driving while impaired.

We’ve been thinking about the victims of drunk driving, including controversies about roadside memorials. We talked about how low gas prices equaled more drunk driving deaths.

In trying to keep drivers sober, we delved into the psychology of drunk drivers, and the physiology of drinking and driving.

And then, we were writing about self-driving cars, because everyone was.

We covered a lot of ignition interlock topics, of course. How you can’t fool them. How to explain them away to your date. And why they work to reduce drunk driving deaths.

But mostly, we tried to get the idea across that drunk driving is a really bad idea. It takes some 10,000 American lives each year, and injures many times more than that. It costs the offender a lot, and costs the taxpayer big time as well.

This year, we hope you enjoy safe, sober driving. Keep reading, and keep in touch.

Happy New Year from Monitech Ignition Interlock

car keys on xmas tree-gift of designated driver

Not much shopping time left before Christmas. If you’re still looking for gifts for your friends, and the Bluetooth-enabled coffee cup doesn’t grab you, here’s one to consider: give them the gift of a designated driver. Specifically, a gift certificate good for one sober ride home after a night of partying.

This gift has a lot going for it:

  • It’s free.
  • It shows you care about your friends.
  • You can have a great time on the night they cash in the gift.
  • You’ll feel great the next morning with no hangover.

There’s no downside, although you really can’t drink alcohol on night your friend selects. But the peace of mind and freedom you’re giving him or her is well worth it.

How to Give a Night of Designated Driving

The easiest way to give your DD gift is to download and print this gift certificate. Fill it out and present to your friend, (or friends – it costs $0 no matter how many you give). Your friend will be touched by your generosity, we guarantee it.

On the night, there’s not much to know. Just:

  • Show up sober.
  • Stay sober – don’t drink any alcohol at all. There are 364 other nights in the year for that if you wish, but tonight’s the sober night, and your friends are depending on you.
  • Get your friend (or friends) home safely. That’s it – you’re the hero.

The first two points are important: there have been studies showing that designated drivers do not always stick to their plan – often they drink, but because they are less drunk than the rest of the crowd, they think they’re able to drive. If your gift is to have meaning, you need to do the right thing and avoid alcohol.

So consider a DD certificate – fast, free, and guaranteed to be well-received by your party-loving friends. And be safe this holiday season.

tipping beer glassThanksgiving, among other things, means it’s almost December, and in much of the country, it’s pretty cold. Advisories are out there about snow, ice, rain, and the need for caution on the road.

But there’s another kind of slip that could result in a collision this Thanksgiving – a slip in your resolve not to drink and drive. Many people start an evening with no intention of drinking and driving, but things happen.

  • Someone forgot the whipped cream, and you’re elected to make a run. Even though you’ve been sipping egg not for a couple of hours.
  • You were supposed to be the designated driver, but you had just one drink – what could that hurt? Then another, and all of a sudden it’s time to go and your liver doesn’t know it.
  • A friend or relative thinks he or she can drive home, and you really should stop them. But that would be rude, wouldn’t it?

There are all kinds of scenario that are right on the edge of drunk driving, and all it takes is a slip to fall into it. A moment of weakness, or inattention, and the lights are flashing and you’re in handcuffs. Or worse, you or someone else is injured. Or worse.

So don’t slip. Don’t even go near the edge this Thanksgiving. Make a plan and stick to it. Make sure no one else leaves your gathering unless they have a sober ride home.

Happy Thanksgiving from Monitech Ignition Interlock

thanksgiving-drunk-driving-problemThanksgiving is considered a long weekend holiday. But it’s also the beginning of a season that is anything but festive: the DUI season. Thanksgiving drunk driving is well-known to police. And it doesn’t stop there – arrests tend to stay elevated from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.

The reasons for this increase aren’t hard to understand. Families and friends get together for Thanksgiving weekend, and then holiday celebrations start by mid-December: office parties, cocktail gatherings, social evenings. There is mulled wine, egg nog, punch, and hard cider, as well as whatever red and green cocktails a creative bartender can dream up. And then, too often, people try to drive home after drinking all that good cheer.

This is not a plea to stop enjoying Thanksgiving. Just to stop Thanksgiving drunk driving. By all means celebrate. But please have a plan in place to keep from having to get behind the wheel if you want to drink.

Line up your designated driver now. Or announce when you arrive at a party that you’re calling a taxi or rideshare home, and you want the world to know it. Your friends will be more relaxed as well, knowing that you’ve got a sober driver lined up.

“Tis the season for drunk driving. But you don’t have to be a part of it.

Happy Thanksgiving from Monitech Ignition Interlock.

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