Former Smart Start Ignition Interlock Client Honored at Largest Drug Court Conference

As an Ignition Interlock provider, Smart Start is given the opportunity to see the positive change that some clients start to experience as they go through their programs. One such event was when a former client spoke this year at the largest conference for treatment courts and criminal justice reform in Washington, D.C.

Former Smart Start Ignition Interlock client, Jose Montoya, spoke during the Parade of Transformation at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) Conference.

Jose, a DWI Drug Court alumni, provided his recovery testimony to thousands of drug court participants and professionals. Participants from all over the world heard his story, and he encouraged them to continue with their missions and goals. Jose also spoke as the Board President of his organization, the Mountain Star Rehabilitation Foundation (MSRF). MSRF provides recovery support for participants and their families as part of the local DWI Drug Court Intervention and Treatment Program.

From Addiction to Recovery – Drug Courts with the Proper Tools like Ignition Interlocks Work

Jose is one of thousands of people who transform their lives through the drug court programs. Drug courts have proven, for the past 20 years, to reduce recidivism in alcohol and/or drug-related offenses.

Smart Start was proud to attend, and see the tremendous growth and progress from a former Ignition Interlock client. Through the proper treatment, supervision and tools such as Ignition Interlocks, anyone can transform their lives for the better.

Need an Ignition Interlock?

Smart Start is here to assist you from start to finish during your Ignition Interlock program. With a reliable device and superior customer service, Smart Start is the U.S.’s go-to Ignition Interlock provider.

Call our 24/7/365 Customer Care Center today at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our short online form.

An Increase of Drunk Driving During the 2017 Holidays? Plan to Drive Sober

Make your Christmas merry and bright this year by not making the decision to drink and drive.

Holiday Drunk Driving Statistics (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s)

During the holidays, between Thanksgiving Eve and New Year’s Eve, drunk driving crashes rise. And it never relents year after year. In 2016 during the month of December alone, 781 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver. And four out of 10 highway deaths around the holiday are due to drunk driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) releases holiday safety campaigns against drunk driving every year, such as Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.

NHTSA Holiday Drunk Driving Prevention Campaigns

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over creates more awareness ever year about enhanced law enforcement with sobriety checkpoints during the holidays. This year, the campaign will last until New Year’s Day. If law enforcement catches someone drinking and driving, the driver will be pulled over and arrested.

Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving reminds everyone that drinking and driving is a dangerous combination. Alcohol affects everyone in different ways, but there’s no denying that even one drink could cause impairment behind the wheel.

Make a Plan Before Your Christmas and Holiday Events

When you think you’re OK to drive after a drink or two at your holiday party, think again. Have a plan in place before you even arrive at the party to have a designated driver or a rideshare app like Lyft on your phone. NHTSA also has a safety app named SaferRide that allows you to call a taxi or a predetermined friend on your smartphone.

Let’s change the statistics and make our roadways safer so everyone gets home to their families this holiday season. Smart Start hopes you have a safe and happy holiday!

Install the Most Reliable Ignition Interlock Device with Smart Start

If you need an Ignition Interlock because of a court and/or state requirement, choose Smart Start. We are the nationwide provider of Ignition Interlocks with a discreet device and 24/7/365 customer service, even during weekends and holidays. Call our Customer Care Center at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our short online form.

MADD Victim Impact Panels: Why Do I Have to Go?

Convicted of a drunk or drugged driving offense? You may need to attend a MADD Victim Impact Panel (VIP). The VIP’s goal is for attendees to understand the lasting and long-term effects of substance impaired driving.

What are MADD Victim Impact Panels?

At MADD VIPs, victims, survivors and others impacted by substance-impaired driving crashes speak to attendees about their experience. The first-person account creates more of an empathetic understanding of what can occur when driving impaired. Ultimately, the panels show a perspective that is often overlooked, or it cannot be taught by the courts.

How Do MADD Victim Impact Panels Work?

MADD VIPs are throughout the U.S., available to those who must attend or would like to as an option. The program structure is different in each county, but there’s usually a small fee to attend, and the panel can last a couple hours. The fees collected go back to local communities to assist with ending impaired driving. The speakers do not call out or blame anyone. They simply tell their story, and hope to reach out to offenders to inspire them to think about the consequences before getting behind the wheel impaired.

The panels not only share a more emotional perspective on the effects of impaired driving, but they also hope to reduce recidivism in offenders after they attend.

Smart Start is a part of the process for DWI or DUI offenders to start driving again with an Ignition Interlock Device. The device may be a part of your court and/or state requirements as well. Paired with educational and powerful stories from MADD VIPs, plus the proper treatment and tools, offenders are on the right path to not drive impaired a second time, and keep our roads safe.

Need an Ignition Interlock?

Smart Start will get you back on the road the quickest with our Ignition Interlock Devices. Call our Customer Care Center at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our short online form.

Texas College Kids Learn About Drunk Driving Through Dodgeball

Organizations all over the U.S. are coming up with creative ways to teach about the dangers of drunk driving. For instance, educational simulators or ‘drunk goggles’ may leave a more lasting impression on young people, and encourage them to avoid drunk driving.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is adding to the conversation by using a virtual dodgeball game to teach college students about the dangers of drunk driving.

A few months ago, the organization visited the University of Texas in Austin because most alcohol-related crashes involve people between the ages of 18 to 35.

How Does the Virtual Dodgeball Game Work?

TxDOT set up a booth with a big screen in front of the player. The screen then tracks the player’s movement as they try to dodge the balls. The game gradually starts to slow down the player’s ability to react as they ‘raise’ the amount of alcohol.

After playing, one student in a news article said that, “if I can’t even dodge a football, I could not even operate a car or anything like that.”

The focus of the game was to leave students with the realization that alcohol can severely affect your driving skills. Students should also be pro-active and have a game plan before going to parties and events that involve alcohol, like appointing a designated driver or having a ridesharing app on their phones.

Texas Drunk Driving Statistics

In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s recent drunk driving data, Texas was the state with the highest drunk driving-related deaths. And from TxDOT’s numbers, 28 percent of crashes in Texas in 2016 were alcohol-related. In Austin during Labor Day weekend in 2016, there were 34 alcohol-related crashes. Two of those resulted in a fatality and six with an injury.

With the TxDOT and other organizations educating younger people against drunk driving in more creative ways, we can see these numbers decrease. One tool that’s changing the numbers already is an Ignition Interlock Device.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that between 2015 and 2016, Ignition Interlocks stopped drivers 27,694 times with a BAC level of .08 or more. If these devices continue to be a requirement for DWI offenders, Texas will have safer roadways.

Do You Need an Ignition Interlock?

Smart Start will provide you a reliable device and the best customer service support in the Ignition Interlock industry. Call our Customer Care Center today at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our short online form.

Is Pot Legalization to Blame for the Rise in Colorado’s Traffic Deaths?

Colorado began legalizing pot, or marijuana, for personal use in 2012. Then the commercial sale of pot began in 2014.

Traffic Fatalities in Colorado Are Going Up

According to a Denver Post article, traffic fatalities involving pot in someone’s system have drastically gone up since 2013. They claim their analysis of the data and coroner reports show the most comprehensive look yet regarding whether roads in the state have become more dangerous or not since the legalization of pot.

In NHTSA’s data, there’s a 40 percent increase of drivers involved in fatal crashes in Colorado between 2013 and 2016. Drivers who tested positive for marijuana use increased 145 percent from 47 in 2013 to 115 in 2016.

But is Legalization of Pot Really to Blame?

Colorado transportation and public safety officials say that the rise in pot-related traffic deaths cannot be definitively linked to legalized pot. However, they say, the quick increase of pot usage since 2013 should not be ignored. Officials need to highlight the potential dangers of mixing pot use and driving. The vast majority of drivers surviving fatal crashes and testing for pot showed that they had used the drug within hours of testing.

Smart Start Separates Drinking From Driving®, but also does not agree with mixing any type of drug while getting behind the wheel. One point no one can deny is that pot significantly impairs your driving skills, such as your judgment, motor coordination and reaction time.

Do You Need an Ignition Interlock?

Smart Start can help you get back on the road the quickest. To schedule an install appointment, call our Customer Care Center at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our online form.

Are Your Habits Considered Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is a serious public health issue in the U.S. It is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .08 or more.

Who Binge Drinks and How Often? It’s Not Just College Students!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about eight drinks per binge. The age group that binge drinks the most is between 25 and 34-years-old. A close second are people between 18 and 24-years-old.

Binge drinking is more prevalent among males, but in the last two decades, binge drinking among females has been on an alarming rise.

Binge drinking, among other things, is a consequence on your finances and your health. Unintentional injures can happen because of binge drinking as well, such as car crashes and alcohol poisoning.

How to Curb Binge Drinking

The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends evidence-based tactics to prevent binge drinking. Some of them are:

  • Increasing alcohol taxes
  • Limiting the number of retail alcohol outlets,
  • And dram shop liability, which holds alcohol retailers responsible for the harm caused by illegal alcohol sales to minors or customers who are already intoxicated.


Additional tactics include screening and counseling for alcohol misuse and consistently enforcing laws against underage drinking and alcohol-impaired driving.

Binge Drinking Can Lead to Dangerous Decisions

Drunk driving is still a prevalent issue in the U.S. Anyone could make this decision, whether someone is a casual drinker, or they suffer from alcoholism. Drunk driving deaths rose for the second year in a row, and the only physical tool to prevent this dangerous decision is the Ignition Interlock.

An Optional Ignition Interlock Device

Ignition Interlocks are a requirement for DUI offenders, but they can also be a safety option while driving. Most vendors provide a low-rate, voluntary program with easy tests for those who want to ensure safe driving of their vehicle BEFORE something negative happens. Smart Start can assist you if you want to keep yourself and others on the road safe with the most convenient, economical voluntary program in the U.S.

Call our Customer Care Center today at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our short online form.

DWI Court Program Reduces Tendency to Re-Offend by 69 Percent

Minnesota is one of many states that have been pleasantly surprised with the results from their DWI court programs. It turns out that Minnesota’s DWI court program in particular has reduced recidivism among its participants by a resounding 69 percent. Recidivism means the tendency for an individual to re-offend.

These are very promising numbers for Minnesota to prevent drunk driving on their roads. According to the DPS website, 41 percent of drivers in 2015 who were arrested for a DWI in Minnesota had at least one previous drunk driving conviction. And nearly 266,000 Minnesota drivers have more than one DWI on their record. To reveal that drug court participants’ recidivism rates were reduced by nearly 70 percent could lessen these percentages.

What Are DWI Courts?

The Minnesota DWI Court’s focus is to eliminate repeat DWI offenses by embracing a more holistic approach with offenders.

DWI Courts in the U.S. are for DWI/DUI offenders, providing a more focused treatment plan for their offenses, whether drug or alcohol-related. For the past 20 years, DWI Courts throughout the nation have shown their success rate with 75 percent of adult criminal drug court graduates not committing their crimes again.

DWI Courts and Ignition Interlocks Prevent Drunk Driving

DWI Courts help reduce recidivism, and the proper tools such as Ignition Interlocks have been proven to effectively assist as well. They can also prevent drunk driving in a more direct way.

Ignition Interlock Devices can physically stop someone from starting their car if there’s too much alcohol in their system. They are usually a requirement for DWI offenders, although Ignition Interlock laws vary in each state.  In Minnesota, first-time offenders with a BAC level of .16 or above, or repeat offenders, must have an Ignition Interlock to regain their driving privileges.

Pairing the device with specialty court, such as Minnesota’s DWI court program, leaves offenders in a better position to change their lifestyle.

Need an Ignition Interlock?

Smart Start can support you with the most reliable Ignition Interlock Device and the best customer service. To receive a quote and schedule your installation appointment, simply call us today at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our short online form.

Holiday Drunk Driving Prevention Tips: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2017 Winter Campaign

The winter campaign for Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is next week, and we want to provide you with holiday drunk driving prevention tips to avoid a sometimes-fatal decision to drink and drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s communication resource, Traffic Safety Marketing, is urging drivers to stay safe this holiday season by not driving drunk. Many local law enforcement agencies are participating in the enforcement campaign throughout the U.S. with various plans such as sobriety checkpoints and an increase in patrols looking for drunk drivers. If they suspect a drunk driver, they will pull them over, test them and automatically arrest them.

Holiday Drunk Driving Fatalities

According to NHTSA, nearly 37,500 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2016. A staggering 28 percent of those fatalities involved crashes with a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at .08, the legal limit. In another study, drunk driving deaths have increased for the second year in a row.

Every year during the holiday season, between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, there’s an even greater number of deaths because of drunk driving. For the month of December alone, 781 people lost their lives in drunk driving-related crashes. The rise in this dangerous behavior is because more drivers are on the road and there are more drinks to be had from the holidays.

Don’t let yourself, or a friend or family member, be at risk this holiday season.

Holiday Drunk Driving Prevention Tips

Remember to:

  • Designate a sober driver in your group to ensure you’re getting home safely.
  • Use a ride sharing service, such as a tax or Uber/Lyft. A few dollars out of your wallet is a better alternative than driving drunk in your car, which could cause severe consequences.
  • Look for public transportation as an alternative, such as bus, train, etc.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign will be from December 13 to the 31st.

Need an Ignition Interlock?

Smart Start will get you back on the road quickly and safely. Call our Customer Care Center at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our short online form.

STUDY: TIRF Releases 2016 U.S. Alcohol-Impaired Driving Results

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF USA) recently published an eye-opening study called the 2016 USA Road Safety Monitor (RSM) with a focus on American drivers aged 21 or older.

RSM’s focus was on the alcohol-impaired driving issue in the U.S., and shows data on participants’ knowledge and use of alternative decisions to alcohol-impaired driving.

The three decisions in the study are:

  • Safe ride home programs (taxi services, Uber/Lyft)
  • Public transportation
  • Designated drivers

TIRF USA released the same study with 2015’s numbers last year. This year’s RSM compares those older numbers, and the ones they gathered in 2016 for a comparison.

RSM begins the study by saying tremendous progress has been made to reduce alcohol-impaired driving in the last decade. However, their 2015 study showed the fatality data increased 3.2 percent compared to 2014. MADD’s recent study also corroborates this unfortunate rise in number.

A solution in the RSM is to encourage more people to use alternative actions to alcohol-impaired driving, such as the safe ride home programs, public transportation and designated drivers.

Safe Ride Home Program Findings

Although there’s no definitive answer for ride-sharing services such as Lyft, RSM says there’s still a noticeable change with alcohol-impaired driving.

Some studies conclude that safe rides are an effective method of decreasing impaired driving arrests, crashes and deaths. The safe ride home services derive from the definition of ‘designated driver,’ which is a person who is sober and refrains from alcohol to get passengers home safely. In recent years, RSM states, theses safe ride home programs are solid alternatives versus using a designated driver.

When the study asked participants their familiarity with safe ride home programs in 2016, nearly 47 percent said yes. 2015 was at 44 percent.

Although there was an increase in familiarity in 2016, there was a higher percentage of people who were not familiar with the programs. In 2016, nearly 56 percent stated they were not familiar with the programs, with 2015 at 53 percent.

One of the more staggering results is when nearly all respondents in both years (91 percent in 2015 and 87 percent in 2016) answered that they were not familiar with safe ride home programs, and had never, or almost never, used them.

Age Difference

It also appears that the younger you are, the more inclined you’d be to use safe ride home programs. People ages 21 to 39 were more likely to use them, while people ages 40 to 59 and older, weren’t.

Drinking Frequency

In addition, individuals who have had a drink in the past 12 months were approximately eight times more likely to report using ride share services compared to those who have not had a drink.

Public Transportation Findings

Most U.S. drivers in the RSM reported not using public transportation when it is available as an alternative to alcohol-impaired driving.

The percentages were at 82 and 79 percent for 2015 and 2016. As far as age and drinking frequency, the numbers were similar to the ride share program’s.

Designated Driver Findings

The designated driver alternative option had a resounding agreement among the participants. Virtually all agreed that having a designated driver was important, with percentages at approximately 98 percent for both the years 2015 and 2016.

However, it appears a smaller portion actually use a designated driver. 70 and 71 percent reveal they have been a designated driver themselves in 2015 and 2016. And 63 and 64 percent use one in 2015 and 2016.

RSM’s Conclusions

With only two years to build this type of data, the RSM says it is premature to draw conclusions about these alternative trends.

The familiarity, and availability of, these safer options is high, yet the actual use of them is low. Nonetheless, the TIRF USA RSM sees potential in increasing the growth of these numbers as alternative solutions to alcohol-impaired driving.  All three solutions are promising, and can only increase in usage throughout the years. With studies like the RSM, we can learn and better understand these trends over time to keep our roadways safe.

Another Safety Tool for Drunk Drivers

For people who are convicted or arrested of a DUI from drunk driving, Ignition Interlocks will sometimes be a requirement. The devices are a safety tool installed in someone’s car to prevent the user from driving drunk. The need for an Ignition Interlock arrives in someone’s life because of their dangerous decision. However, the device can physically prevent them from re-offending again and lead to a safer lifestyle.

Need an Ignition Interlock?

Smart Start can provide you the most reliable device and affordable costs. Call our Customer Care Center at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our online form.