Category: Technology

Today’s post comes to us from fellow interlock provider, LifeSafer.

Sometimes it takes a shocking news story to draw attention to a persistent law enforcement problem. That is the case with stubborn repeat DUI offenders, who will continue to drink and drive no matter the cost.

Robert Schiro

Robert Schiro

Five years ago, a 25-year-old college student named Ashley Jackson was bicycling with her fiancé in Saratoga, California when she was hit by a BMW that proceeded to speed away. Jackson suffered brain damage and debilitating injuries. It took law enforcement some months to locate and arrest the driver, 70-year-old Robert Schiro.

Schiro was sentenced to three years in San Quentin. He served half that but had his license revoked. Apparently, neither the horror he wreaked nor the legal restriction mattered to Schiro. He got back behind the wheel, and now has been charged with new crimes — DUI, hit-and-run causing property damage and well as driving without a license.

According to news reports, an intoxicated Schiro ignored pleas to take a cab from a Saratoga restaurant and drove his Escalade home instead, ramming a car on the way out. He managed to run over his own wrought-iron gate when he arrived home. Confronted by police, he claimed his girlfriend had been driving.

His former victim, Ashley Jackson, wants – no surprise – life imprisonment for Schiro. Whether California courts will agree is not yet known.

Recognizing the problem that repeat DUI offenders pose, states have devised programs to protect the public. When Vermont revokes your license for drunk driving, it can be reinstated only with a pledge of total abstinence from drugs or alcohol for three years. If you violate those terms, you are required to have an ignition interlock in your vehicle permanently. An ignition interlock prevents a vehicle from starting when the driver has been drinking.

Wisconsin, a state infamous for its leniency in the area of drunk driving, is beginning to tackle the problem with special laws for repeat DUI offenders. But those laws are only for repeat DUI offenders with seven convictions; Schiro wouldn’t have qualified, despite his record.

Repeat DUI offenders are in a class by themselves. Driver education programs and awareness campaigns exist to inform the public of the dangers of impaired driving, and many people take heed. Fines and jail terms are enough to deter many one-time offenders from repeating their crime. But the only thing that would possibly keep the Robert Schiros of the world from drinking and driving — short of imprisonment — would be a well-supervised ignition interlock requirement. If a car will not start because the driver has alcohol on his breath, the public is safe for the moment.

License suspension doesn’t work, and even prison doesn’t seem to do the trick. If these offenders have access to a car, they will drive.

Today’s post comes to us from fellow ignition interlock provider Lifesafer.

Summer is fast approaching, and statistics show that when the weather turns warm there are more drunk drivers on the road. Although there are strict penalties in place for drinking drivers who are arrested with children under the age of 16 in the their vehicles, there is still a high incidence of children involved in drunk driving crashes.

You may automatically think that children killed in drunk driving crashes are the victims of the driver of another vehicle, but a new study has shown that the drinking driver who causes the crash is often the driver of the vehicle with children aboard. A study done by Chicago pediatrician Dr.Kyran Quinlan revealed that two-thirds of the time, if child passengers are killed in an alcohol related crash, it’s as a passenger in the vehicle driven by a drunk driver.

The study looked at U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data for children who met the criteria of being under the age of 15 and involved in a fatal DUI crash. There were 2,344 drunk driving crashes that occurred between the years 2001 and 2010. In over 1,500 of those crashes, the child was a passenger of the the drunk driver. The researchers also found that two-thirds of the children involved in these crashes were not wearing seat belts, and South Dakota and New Mexico had the highest rates of children dying in alcohol related crashes.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) would like to see all states pass a drunk driving law that makes DUI with a child passenger a felony offense, and they’d also like to require an ignition interlock device for those who are convicted.

Although some states have harsh DUI penalties should the drunk driver be caught driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle, this study shows the need to step up that effort and require all states to crack down on those who choose to drink and drive with children.

The ignition interlock industry is always looking to utilize the latest technologies to enhance the accuracy and effectiveness of the interlock device. It’s the goal of interlock providers to ensure that program participants are discouraged from attempting to drink and drive and are caught if they try to circumvent the program.

A couple additions to some interlock programs around the country have recently sparked controversy, but it appears that they may be the future of the industry. In-car cameras and GPS trackers allow for real-time reporting of violations as well as vehicle location upon violations. Some have argued these additions are intrusive and shouldn’t be allowed, but this “intrusiveness” is merely a result of chronic drunk drivers who have found ways to “beat” their devices, from getting someone else to blow in the device for them to electronically tampering with the device.

As a way to combat a person’s ability to trick their device, in-car cameras, which are suction-cupped to the windshield, will record program participants to ensure that they are the ones actually blowing into the device to start the vehicle and completing the random retests while the vehicle is in motion. While the participant blows into the device, the camera will take a picture, complete with a time stamp to verify the photo was taken as the breath sample was taken. Depending on the degree of a person’s DUI conviction, they may be restricted from driving in certain areas or only permitted to drive to work. This can be monitored with a GPS tracker that comes as part of the person’s interlock program.

Both of these additions are currently outside the realm of North Carolina standards for interlocks, so Monitech devices don’t utilize either. However, other interlock providers owned by the same parent company as Monitech are using them as they seem to be the future of interlock programs nationwide.

Learn more about Monitech’s interlock program.

Today’s post comes to us from fellow ignition interlock provider, LifeSafer.

We all talk about the dangers of drinking and driving, but how do we really know how dangerous the effects of alcohol can be unless we’ve experienced it for ourselves? Okay, we know what you’re thinking. We’re not encouraging anyone to drink and drive. But, there is a way to simulate the experience without taking a sip of alcohol.

The Ford Motor Company in Europe created a unique driver awareness campaign that would be useful for showing drivers all around the world the negative effects of drunk driving. The product? A suit designed to simulate what it’s like to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel.

The suit contains different items to create the experience: goggles to distort vision, noise-reducing headphones to alter the driver’s hearing and weights to slow down reaction times and limit hand and eye coordination. To put the suit to the test, Ford had a sober driver wear it as she drove a Ford Fiesta through a closed obstacle course.

Before even making it to the course, the driver found herself struggling with basic tasks like walking a straight line or catching a ball. Behind the wheel was where the effects were multiplied. The driver had difficulty navigating the course, performing basic driving tasks and driving to the best of her abilities.

After analyzing the test results, Ford was confident that the suit would influence people to not drink and drive. They’ve decided to take their campaign all over Europe and share it with the younger generations.

Simulated tests like this one prove that even if you’ve only had one or two drinks and are still below the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol level; drinking alcohol before driving can severely restrict your driving ability. The safest option remains the same for any driver (and surrounding drivers): don’t get behind the wheel after drinking any amount of alcohol.

Are you an attorney? Maybe an alcohol assessment counselor? Perfect. We’ve just launched a couple pages on our website completely devoted to getting you the resources and  informational materials you need to best serve your clients. If you’re not an attorney or counselor, don’t go anywhere. You’ll still probably think a lot of these resources are pretty cool.

Now back to our attorneys and counselors. We’re serious about our responsibility to educate you on the changing landscape of ignition interlocks in North Carolina. This way, your priority can be serving your clients while we act as a resource in that effort.

Our informational portals were designed specifically for attorneys and counselors and answer most of the questions you might have about ignition interlocks and the protocols surrounding them. But feel free to reach out to our market coordinator, if you’re still unclear about something.

What We Have For You

These portals contain everything from instructional videos to ignition interlock guidebooks (even a brochure in Spanish) to the latest innovations in making interlocks more user-friendly for your clients. If you’re a visual person, we strongly recommend taking a look at some of our videos outlining the ignition interlock process from start to finish.

Some of our collateral resources are limited, so if you really want a particular resource, feel free to request it along with the the desired quantity. Also, if you think you or your clients would benefit from a live demo of our ignition interlock device, we’ll gladly come to you.  All you have to do is fill out a quick form requesting the demo along with the days that work best for you. But don’t take my word for it; I’m just a blog post. Feel free to explore these portals for yourself:

Resources for Attorneys
Resources for Counselors

Today’s post comes to us from LifeSafer.

Every year thousands of DUI offenders across the country are ordered to have an ignition interlock installed. A surprising number ignore the order, and drive without one. Others have the device installed, but borrow a friend’s car when they want to drink and drive.

Two words: bad move.

An ignition interlock device (IID or BAIID – Blood Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device) prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol level (BAC) exceeds a programmed limit. The driver breathes into a tube, and if he or she is impaired, the device prevents the vehicle from starting.

Almost all states now prescribe ignition interlock devices, and some do it for first-time DUI offenses. Driving without a court-ordered interlock is a violation of your suspension. Here are five reasons why you’re asking for trouble if you blow off your interlock and end up driving without your interlock:

IT COSTS SERIOUS MONEY. Fines for those caught driving with a suspended license are steep – $5,000 is not uncommon. Add to that the attorney fees… you’re not thinking of appearing in court on a criminal charge without a good attorney, are you? In fact, by the time it’s over, you could be on the hook for $20,000 or more.

YOUR SUSPENSION GETS LONGER. It’s standard to add time to your suspension if you’re caught violating it. Some states can slap on as many as five extra years.

YOUR CAR COULD BE IMPOUNDED. Police in some states impound your car for a period of time when you’re caught driving on a suspended license. Or they might render it inoperable with a boot. If you’re driving a friend’s car to bypass your ignition interlock, tough luck – you’ll have to explain to your friend why their car is gone.

YOU COULD FACE PRISON. In some jurisdictions, people caught driving with a suspended license are given the same treatment as a bank robber. Jail time is common for second offenses these days. Ask Paris Hilton – she got three weeks. Had she been caught in Maine, she might have gotten six months!

YOU COULD LOSE YOUR RIGHTS. If you end up a convicted felon, as some who drive with suspended licenses do, you could lose the right to vote, face travel restrictions (many countries deny visas to felons) and be denied federal opportunities for education and housing.

Flouting the interlock law is a losing proposition. If you’ve been ordered to install an ignition interlock in your vehicle, then do it right away. Driving with a suspended license and no interlock is asking for legal battles, financial headaches, and jail.

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