Iowa’s 24/7 Sobriety Pilot Program Closes Loophole

A recent statutory change to Iowa’s 24/7 sobriety pilot program is expected to increase the usage of Temporary Restricted Licenses (TRL) and Ignition Interlock Devices through a novel approach to close a glaring loophole in the previous law.

Iowa’s new law took effect on July 1, 2020. However, it won’t officially be enforced in pilot program counties until the state’s Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.

How Does Iowa’s 24/7 Sobriety Pilot Program Work?

It all started in July 2019 with a pilot program in Woodbury County, Iowa that established a 24/7 sobriety testing requirement. The court could order clients who met certain criteria to be tested for alcohol or drugs via breathalyzer twice a day at the county sheriff’s office.

The 24/7 program is for first-time offenders:

  • With a blood alcohol content of greater than 0.15, or;
  • Who are involved in a personal injury or property damage accident.
  • Who refuse a test.

It also applies to any driver with a second or subsequent violation of the OWI law in Iowa.

Changes Enhance Safety, Encourage Accountability

From its beginning, the major goals of the 24/7 pilot program included:

  • Encouraging individual accountability and alcohol-free behaviors.
  • Reducing recidivism by enforcing strict restrictions and rigorous testing.
  • Reducing pressure on the jails in Woodbury County. They often hold anywhere between 25 and 35 alcohol-related offenders on any given day.

Attorney Doug Struyk is a lobbyist for Intoximeters, Inc. The company provides alcohol breath testing devices for law enforcement and other agencies.

“In the partnership with Smart Start and Intoximeters, we believe in 24/7 and the sobriety that comes with it,” he said. “We see the benefit of proven, long-term impacts on recidivism rates through participation in the program, combined with the reduction in alcohol-related accidents and arrests with the use of Ignition Interlock.”

A Catch-22 for the Courts

In the original program, 24/7 would be ordered by the court as a condition of sentencing or probation. In order to take part in 24/7, however, the participant had to obtain a Temporary Restricted License (TRL) and an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), among other requirements.

However, Struyk said, the pilot program had a rather large loophole. By law, the judges weren’t allowed to require participants to get a TRL – or an IID – even though they were a prerequisite for the 24/7 program.

In other words, a participant needed a TRL and IID to take part in Iowa’s 24/7 sobriety pilot program as ordered. But the courts couldn’t compel them to get a restricted license. That meant that judges would eventually have to rescind the 24/7 order.

“Offenders could simply say, ‘I don’t want to get my TRL because I don’t want to do 24/7’,” Struyk said. “What we saw was a reduction in use of Ignition Interlocks by two-thirds. That was obviously the opposite of what we wanted to happen.”

So, many offenders simply chose to continue driving with a suspended license, with no Ignition Interlock and no 24/7 program requirement.

“It’s been called a ‘get out of jail free’ card,” Struyk said. “You get put on the 24/7 program, but you don’t have to get a restricted license or an IID. And if you don’t get those, then you never have to participate in the 24/7 program.

“It was a Catch-22 for the judges,” he added. “They couldn’t compel the offenders to do anything. So, we needed to fix that.”

Closing the Loophole

Getting rid of the loophole is all about saving lives, Struyk said.

A temporary license and IID are still not required in order to begin the Iowa 24/7 sobriety pilot program. However, an offender now has to prove that they have an IID on their vehicle in order to complete the 24/7 program.

The court can still order them to participate in Iowa’s 24/7 sobriety pilot program. But now they can’t be released from their 24/7 program requirement until they show proof of a TRL.

So instead of constantly having to figure out how to get to the sheriff’s office twice a day, it’s easier just to get the temporary license and IID.

“The judge can say you have to show up twice a day at the sheriff’s office and blow,” Struyk said. “If you don’t get a TRL to drive yourself, you’ll have to figure out an alternate way to get there. If you’re foolish enough to drive to the sheriff’s office or anywhere else in your vehicle, you’re driving without a license.”

The pilot project will continue in Woodbury County, which includes Sioux City and other municipalities. Other counties will have the option to participate in Iowa’s 24/7 sobriety pilot program.

Portable Breath Alcohol Testing in Georgia DUI Court

Authorities at every level are constantly searching for ways to monitor their DUI clients effectively. One example is Henry County in Georgia. Over the past few months, the county’s DUI Court has discovered the benefit of portable breath alcohol testing in Georgia for its program participants.

The Henry County DUI Court’s tool of choice is SmartStart’s BreathCheck™ portable breath alcohol testing tool. Other counties have been successful with BreathCheck for portable breath alcohol testing in Georgia, and Henry County – which is located just southeast of Atlanta – is no exception.

BreathCheck is the Solution for Portable Breath Alcohol Testing in Georgia

Lisa King is the DUI/Drug Court Coordinator for Henry County. She oversees the use of BreathCheck for program participants. She first learned about BreathCheck at a training event in September 2019, and the county started using the device in October 2019. King was already familiar with Smart Start, distributing discount coupons for drivers who require an Ignition Interlock Device.

DUI Court participants are typically multiple offenders who are required to stay in the program for at least one year. Since they have multiple DUIs, she said, they require an Ignition Interlock Device. But she also recognized the benefit of an extra layer of alcohol testing monitoring for some participants.

Tell Me More About BreathCheck

Helping Surveillance Officers in the Field

Traditionally, Henry County has had two surveillance officers who check DUI Court participants for compliance. That includes making sure they’re in compliance with alcohol consumption rules, curfew, and so on.

However, King said, BreathCheck gives the surveillance officers an extra tool to ensure compliance. Participants are tested three times a day, and their location is monitored by GPS through Smart Start’s Client Portal app.

This includes a handful of clients who live outside of Henry County, but still participate in the DUI Court. Surveillance officers aren’t always able to easily check on those participants.

Overall, King said, “I really like BreathCheck. It’s a great tool, especially since we can test people multiple times each day. They know that they’re going to be held accountable. And they know that if they test positive, they could be sanctioned in court.”

Is BreathCheck Right for My Clients?

A Unique Perspective on Portable Breath Alcohol Testing in Georgia

King chose an interesting approach when Henry County started using BreathCheck. She spent some time using the device herself, getting to know how it works. She tried BreathCheck with different items, such as alcohol, toothpaste and mouthwash. “That’s how I know they device works properly,” she said.

“When clients say the unit isn’t working right, or they had a positive result when they shouldn’t have, I want the confidence to say that they’re not correct,” she said. “When I tell them that I’ve used it, and I know that it works, they’re shocked. That’s when the conversation pretty much ends.” She added that it also is a benefit that they’re prompted for another test to help verify any positive result.

Portable Alcohol Breath Testing in Georgia: Another Success Story

SmartWeb Plays a Major Role in BreathCheck’s Success

King said she also takes advantage of Smart Start’s SmartWeb™ online case management for its reporting and administrative capabilities. She gets a daily report from SmartWeb to follow the Dui Court’s BreathCheck users.

“SmartWeb lets me see them taking the test, and the GPS lets me see their location,” she said. “I think SmartWeb is very user-friendly. It’s easy to get reports, or to go in and make notes when I change someone’s testing schedule.”

How Can SmartWeb Make My Workload Easier?

BreathCheck: Compliance plus Personal Accountability

King said that BreathCheck’s value goes beyond compliance. It also helps with personal accountability.

“The participants are going to slip up,” she said. “That’s part of recovery. Some people may need a little more help than others. In the beginning, they may struggle a little bit. But BreathCheck can help them realize that ‘Hey, I’d better get it together.’ It can be the wakeup call that they need to get back on track.”

If you’d like more information about portable breath alcohol testing in Georgia – or anywhere else – contact one of our Business Development Representatives or call (800) 831-3299.

COVID-19 Highway Safety Panelists Offer Insight

COVID-19 has affected virtually every aspect of everyday life, and the highway safety community is no exception. A roundtable of highway safety officials recently shared their thoughts and findings about COVID-19 highway safety during the first webinar in the Governors Highway Safety Association’s 2020 webinar series. The webinars revolve around the theme of “Forging a New and Safer Normal.”

Smart Start was the exclusive sponsor for “Quarantined! Managing Highway Safety Programs During a Public Health Emergency.” Experts included officials from the Texas Department of Transportation; Delaware Office of Highway Safety; Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); and the Idaho State Police. The panelists all shared their recent experiences with COVID-19 traffic safety.

Smart Start CEO Matt Strausz and Vice President of Government Affairs Debra Coffey shared a brief presentation with webinar attendees, outlining the company’s response to the challenges presented by COVID-19. Their presentation stressed the importance of quick reaction and effective communication.

Quick Reaction is Crucial

Although the effect of COVID-19 is unprecedented, Smart Start has developed effective response strategies through experience with natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, or flooding.

“That kind of experience is valuable during a crisis,” Strausz said. “We know that our top priorities are to establish a response plan, and communicate that clearly to our customers and partners in every way possible.”

Even now, he added, Smart Start continues to monitor events surrounding COVID-19, staying ready to adjust strategy as the situation changes.

COVID-19 Highway Safety: A Rapidly Evolving Situation

The webinar panelists all agreed that COVID-19 highway safety presented challenges that immediately affected virtually every aspect of their daily operations.

“It’s really hard to believe how quickly so much of our lives and plans changed,” said Terry Pence, Traffic Safety Director at the Texas Department of Transportation. “There’s no question that it shocked the highway safety community in the same way it impacted so many other parts of life.”

Barbara Sauers of NHTSA agreed. “The pandemic has left very little untouched,” she said. “I really have been amazed to see how agile and responsive the highway safety community has been.”

Virtual Participation Plays a Major Role

Kimberly Chesser, Director of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, echoed the thoughts of all the panelists by saying that technology played a critical role from Day 1. It was more than just mandating or allowing employees to work from home. The agencies quickly turned to virtual video-based solutions for a wide range of business requirements, including meetings, workshops, training, planning, and monitoring.

Pence added: “We’ve so many positive things as a result of moving so many things to a virtual environment. We found that a lot of folks are interested in opportunities to be involved in events that don’t require them to travel.”

As an example, he used a recent statewide traffic safety conference in Texas. He said the event typically draws between 275 to 325 participants in person. By switching to virtual attendance, there was a record participation of 536 participants.

The panelists generally agreed that virtual technology will continue to play a role even as the pandemic response eventually subsides. “It’s going to be a work in progress,” Kerns said.

The Importance of Staying Connected

Chesser noted that it was important to stay in close contact not only with stakeholders, but also with employees.

“We learned over time that it’s not just communicating one message with one staff member that affects them directly, but letting everyone know what the impacts are on everyone in the organization,” she said. “Keeping those lines of communication open over time, we realized it’s important to share all of that information.”

Tim Kerns is Director of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Highway Safety Office, as well as an epidemiologist. He noted that staff concerns often went beyond just performing their duties, but also included overall anxiety about COVID-19.

He agreed that effective response underscores the need not just for increased communication, but for active leadership.

“We felt like we had done a pretty good job at communicating,” he said. “But we started hearing from our employees as they returned that they had felt isolated. It’s important to have a positive message from the leadership team, and let our people know that the situation will pass.”

What Does the Future Hold?

There was also a strong level of agreement among panelists that it’s no longer possible to ignore the possibility of a far-reaching event like a pandemic.

Col. Kedrick Willis, Director of the Idaho State Police, said that while their existing crisis planning was robust, “a pandemic was not on our radar. In the future, it certainly will be.”

Kerns spoke about a broad-based approach to the future using lessons learned so far from COVID-19 highway safety.

“Hopefully, we’ll never have to do this again,” he said. “But this may be something we have to hang on to for a while. While we’re adapting to the short term, I have a feeling that this is going to drag on for a little while longer, at least. We’ll have to change some of the ways that we do business. We’ll have to adapt to that as we move forward as well.”

Portable Alcohol Breathalyzer Works for DUI Court Program

Stay-at-Home orders created a challenge for authorities to continue alcohol testing for DUI offenders during the Covid-19 pandemic. Fulton County DUI Treatment Court in Georgia chose a novel solution using BreathCheck™ portable alcohol breathalyzers from Smart Start.

The DUI Court Program uses a collaborative approach involving multiple legal and substance-abuse treatment professionals. The program lasts 24 months, typically combining assessment, treatment, testing, random home visits, support-group meetings and other requirements. The team works closely with program participants throughout the process to ensure individual compliance while encouraging accountability.

BreathCheck Portable Alcohol Breathalyzers as an Alternative

Bradley Jones, Behavioral Health Program Manager, said they began using BreathCheck about two weeks after Georgia’s Shelter-in-Place order took effect. He led the program along with Administrative Coordinator Cheryl Egan Fears.

Jones said that the program had used other methods of alcohol testing before Covid-19, including urinalysis. “So, we needed to find a way to make sure we continued testing during this time,” he said. “This is something we have to be doing.”

Smart Start Has the Answer

They approached Jessica Rocker, Smart Start’s Business Development Representative for their region. She suggested BreathCheck as a portable alcohol breathalyzer solution. Soon after, the program began using 120 BreathCheck devices, set up with customized random morning and evening testing schedules.

Jones said that portable alcohol monitoring isn’t just important from a deterrence standpoint, providing immediate response as opposed to urinalysis. It also helps program participants stay committed to an alcohol-free lifestyle.

“So many of our people want to prove they’re not using alcohol,” Jones said. “They really do want to show that they’re compliant. That’s why BreathCheck has been a great alternative.”

Not Just a Requirement, But Also Encouragement

For many, it’s more than just a requirement – it’s encouragement. Egan Fears says the support has been especially important given the limited contact they have with other people during the pandemic.

“There is a psychological aspect of it,” she said. “During Covid, they have been separated from their counselors and their groups. BreathCheck gives them a connection to the program, because they are always talking with each other. We want them to know that even though it is screening, we’re still watching out for them.”

Smart Start’s Business Development Rep Made a Difference

Jones gives a great deal of credit to Rocker for the BreathCheck program’s success.  “She was always there to help make sure all of our clients got up and rolling,” Jones said. “Jessica has been very responsive, no matter what time we contact her, and she’s done everything she can to make it successful.”

Shelter-in-Place has ended for their area, but Jones said they’ll continue using the devices until a judicial emergency order is lifted, possibly in June. Even after that, he added, some of the BreathCheck devices may be used on a selective basis.

For more information, contact the Smart Start Business Development Representative for your region.

U.K. Study: Portable Alcohol Monitoring in Family Situations

As the worldwide leader in alcohol testing and monitoring, we understand that alcohol-related behaviors often play a huge role in domestic issues for your clients. Portable alcohol monitoring in family situations can be a valuable tool in securing the well-being of children and parents.

That’s why we created SmartMobile™. It’s a customizable, portable alcohol monitoring device for families that can help everyone feel more secure in a wide range of circumstances. It’s more robust – and typically less expensive – than other alcohol monitoring alternatives. A recent study in the United Kingdom helped prove how valuable SmartMobile can be in domestic situations.

Webinar: Show Me an Intro to SmartMobile

A Solution Backed by Positive Results

Harrow Council Children’s Services in London, England, used SmartMobile in a groundbreaking trial that monitored alcohol-related behaviors in 75 families. Parents were tested for alcohol use several times a day, helping case managers identify the extent of the problem and ensuring the safety of family members.

Of the parents who participated, 76 percent said they believed SmartMobile portable alcohol monitoring for family situations had reduced case managers’ concerns about their families. A number of case managers agreed:

  • “The accountability sustained by the device was absolutely vital in the mother’s continued abstinence.”
  • “The device was able to empower the mother and inform the social worker’s assessment with rich and reliable data.”
  • “(SmartMobile) supports the mother in order to emphasize boundaries after a relapse.  She continues to access substance abuse therapy.”

Tell Me More About SmartMobile

Rich Information, Real-Time Notification

SmartMobile is the most versatile, customizable solution on the market. Working in concert with our SmartWeb™ online case management technology, it provides:

  • GPS location data, along with visual verification during testing.
  • Customization of test schedules, including random or on-demand tests.
  • Text or e-mail alerts that keep you informed about missed tests or violations in real-time or 24-hour reports – whichever you prefer.
  • Robust cellular connection to SmartWeb, without relying on a phone or app.

SmartWeb & Mobile Alcohol Monitoring

Court Admissible Data is Stored Onboard

In many cases, it’s important to show that your client has been adhering to any rules involving alcohol consumption as part of custody or support claims. The test data stored on SmartMobile meets the Frye standard for admissibility of scientific evidence.

How Can SmartMobile Help Your Clients?

Learn more by contacting your Smart Start Business Development Rep. They can show you the difference between SmartMobile and other less-rigorous solutions that provide portable alcohol monitoring for family situations. You can also learn more about SmartMobile through our online learning sessions at Smart Start University.

Choose Mobile Alcohol Testing with SmartMobile

A recent paper released by the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) emphasizes the growing role of smartphone apps for supervision. That kind of solution is easily available through our app-based BreathCheck™ mobile alcohol testing device.

But the 11-page APPA document also mentions a second mobile alcohol testing approach. The second option is a corporate-owned device rather than a client’s smartphone. We’ve got that covered too, with SmartMobile™.

BYOD vs. Corporate-Owned Mobile Alcohol Testing

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach is what BreathCheck is all about. Your client’s phone is loaded with our Client Portal app, which connects with BreathCheck. It creates an easy, compact testing solution for your clients, using the app’s Check-In capability to know where they are – anytime, anywhere.

We could devote an entire blog post to BreathCheck (and we do). But consider SmartMobile as a robust alternative that fits higher-risk clients. And Smart Start provides the device for a monthly fee, making a smartphone unnecessary.

SmartMobile Has Built-In Cellular Communication

SmartMobile is self-contained. Testing and location data are stored within the device, and it doesn’t require a smartphone or app. Instead, it has built-in cellular capabilities that keep it connected to our SmartWeb™ online case management platform. SmartWeb provides:

  • GPS location data, along with voice and visual identification during mobile alcohol testing.
  • Customization of test schedules, including random or on-demand testing.
  • Text or e-mail alerts that keep you informed about missed tests or violations in real-time or 24-hour reports – whichever you prefer.

So Why Does SmartMobile Make Sense for High-Risk Clients?

The APPA paper points out that while the BYOD approach is generally less expensive, smartphones were not designed purely to be a secure criminal justice monitoring tool. So BreathCheck and Client Portal make sense for clients who want to comply with requirements easily and quickly.

But other clients present a greater level of risk. They either have greater potential for negative behavior as a result of alcohol use, or are highly motivated to defeat any monitoring device. That’s why we created SmartMobile.

The test data stored on SmartMobile meets the Frye standard for admissibility of scientific evidence. Even if the cellular connection is lost, the data is still safely tucked away. From a monitoring standpoint, that’s particularly important for high-risk behaviors. The device also provides automatic retests after an initial violation and lets you impose sanctions immediately when necessary.

While BreathCheck is sleek and small – no bigger than a business card – SmartMobile is larger but still easily fits in hand. It’s a robust device with full keypad and easy-to-read display screen that provides a remarkable level of interactivity with your client.

Selecting the Best Mobile Alcohol Testing Solution

We’ll give the APPA the final word when it comes to choosing a BYOD smartphone app-based solution like BreathCheck, or a corporate-owned device like SmartMobile.

“Agencies should educate themselves on the capabilities and limitations of smartphone applications in general, as well as the pros and cons of corporate-owned vs. BYOD approaches,” the report states. “These solutions, like any other, should be implemented in alignment with evidence-based practices, focusing on the risk/needs of each case.”

No two clients have the same needs. Discover the right mobile alcohol testing solution by contacting your Smart Start Business Development Rep.

Learn About Portable Alcohol Testing at Smart Start University

When you trust us to serve your clients, you’ve seen what sets us apart from our competitors. Now we’re taking it to a brand new level with a unique, on-demand webinar series about our portable alcohol testing and monitoring technology. We call it Smart Start University.

We’re the undisputed leader in Ignition Interlock Service. But we want you and our other partners to know all about our full range of portable alcohol testing and monitoring solutions. Short of a live demonstration by one of our Business Development Representatives, Smart Start University is the perfect solution.

Portable Alcohol Testing & Monitoring – Anytime, Anywhere

Smart Start University isn’t a sales pitch. It’s an in-depth look at what our products do, how they work, and how easy they are to use. That’s no small matter when you’re trying to keep track of your clients, and your clients are trying to follow their alcohol monitoring requirements.

Once you really see what our suite of portable alcohol testing and monitoring products can do, you’ll understand the difference they’ll make. They don’t just help your clients to succeed, but also help you manage your caseload more efficiently.

SmartWeb Tutorial Ties it All Together

Any discussion of our product suite starts with SmartWeb™. It’s reliable, easy-to-use online case management that lets you and your staff easily manage any client’s program. SmartWeb works on a smartphone, tablet or computer, with Apple and Android operating systems.

It’s an easy, efficient way to:

  • See account status and key program dates for all of your clients.
  • Get a quick overview of a client’s testing history and other notes.
  • Access GPS location, plus create customizable real-time Smart-Alerts® & event notifications via text and/or email.
  • Create random or regularly scheduled testing, plus on-demand if the situation calls for it.

The best way to start is with the Intro to Smart Web. You can click here to see the rest of the SmartWeb sessions.

BreathCheck: A Small, Discreet Device for Low-Risk Clients

You know all about our Ignition Interlock. But sometimes you want to monitor clients when they’re not behind the wheel. That’s where BreathCheck™ comes in.

It’s no bigger than a business card, but BreathCheck is the perfect answer for clients who require easy testing and check-in. It works with the Client Portal smartphone app to provide voice and video detection (in addition to GPS location). Its integration with SmartWeb gives you the scheduling and customization you need for portable alcohol testing and monitoring.

Start with an overview of BreathCheck’s features. Then you can learn how BreathCheck works, or send your client to the entire list of BreathCheck training sessions.

SmartMobile: Taking Portable Alcohol Testing to the Next Level

SmartMobile™ is a solution for your higher-risk clients. Test data is stored on the device, and meets the Frye standard for admissibility of scientific evidence. It doesn’t require a smartphone, since it communicates via cellular network to disclose violations in real-time or in 24-hour reports – whichever you prefer.

It’s a robust device with full keypad and easy-to-read display screen that stores its data on board. Like our other testing solutions, it also has GPS location, facial identification, customized testing and long battery life. SmartMobile is larger than BreathCheck but still fits easily in hand.

The Intro to SmartMobile module will show you its features and benefits, and help you decide whether it’s an option for your clients.

Smart Start University: Discover Our Products at Your Own Pace

You can always learn more about our suite of portable alcohol testing and monitoring products by contacting one of our knowledgeable Business Development Reps.

But Smart Start University is an easy way to understand how our products work, and why they make sense as part of your portable alcohol testing and monitoring strategy.

App-Based Monitoring Supports Client Supervision

A recent study provides some valuable insight into the effectiveness of app-based monitoring devices. We have always believed that a small, discreet portable device like BreathCheck™ – connected to our app-based Client Portal – is an effective way to agencies to supervise their clients.

We were pleased – but not at all surprised – that a white paper by the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) Technology Committee reinforces the value of a quality-conscious, app-based monitoring approach.

It’s important to note that the APPA is very careful not to endorse any particular solution or technology. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that BreathCheck – along with Remote Check-In functionality through our Client Portal – fits the bill for app-based monitoring in a number of different ways.

We’ll tell you more about our other technology – including SmartMobile™ devices and SmartWeb™ caseload management – in future blog posts. But for right now, let’s put the spotlight on BreathCheck.

The Value of App-Based Monitoring

The 11-page APPA study drew from a number of academic and institutional studies to make some interesting observations, such as:

  • Smartphones have enormous potential to be an effective method of monitoring, since 81 percent of U.S. adults have a smartphone (with 95 percent between ages 19 to 29).
  • Apps are available that easily allow monitoring on a mobile device.
  • Accountability objectives can be achieved through features such as location monitoring (via GPS), remote reporting from any location, and check-in capabilities.

BreathCheck is our app-based solution for portable alcohol monitoring. It combines all three of those concepts to create a structure for client monitoring and supervision. We’ll tell you more about our other technology – including SmartMobile devices and SmartWeb caseload management.

“BYOD” vs. Vendor-Based

The study makes a clear distinction between devices provided to a client vs. a “Bring Your Own Device” (or BYOD) approach utilizing the individual’s smartphone. Smart Start has devices that fall into each category.

BreathCheck serves the BYOD app-based market, while our SmartMobile monitoring device – with built-in cellular capabilities – follows the standalone model. SmartMobile is remarkable technology that also relates to the APPA report in number of ways.

For these purposes, we’re going to focus on the advantages of BreathCheck as they relate to the APPA findings and the BYOD approach.

BreathCheck and Location Monitoring

The APPA study emphasizes the importance of determining the location of the device and the client. BreathCheck answers that issue with GPS coordinates that show you the location of a client at any given time.

Naturally, the APPA points out that location data is irrelevant if the client isn’t in possession of the smartphone. That’s why BreathCheck works closely with our SmartWeb™ caseload management platform. Together, they establish a customized check-in or alcohol testing schedule, as well as on-demand testing if necessary.

Discreet, Continuous Tracking

We believe that keeping track of a client’s whereabouts (or alcohol consumption) shouldn’t be a stigma. The APPA report agrees, citing cumbersome ankle bracelets in particular.

However, the report talks about potentially using a physical, body-worn “tether” device linked via Bluetooth. It would indicate whether the smartphone has been separated from the end-user. That would make it difficult to circumvent any tracking.

Smart Start answers the circumvention problem in an easier way:

  • If only a Remote Check-In is required, the client must have their smartphone in order to successfully check-in via Client Portal.
  • If remote alcohol testing is required, the client needs both BreathCheck and their smartphone, since the two are electronically tethered via Bluetooth.
  • Voice and video verification make it virtually impossible for someone else to check in or test in place of the client.

It’s not a true “continuous” tracking solution, following the client everywhere they go. It’s app-based remote check-in that ensures to a high degree of integrity that you can find out where they are at any given time – as many as 10 times a day. It also includes on-demand testing requiring a Check-In at any time with the click of a button.

Other Key Points

The APPA report skillfully presents a wealth of information packed into 11 pages. It’s too much to go into here, but consider three final highlights:

  • Monitoring authorities would benefit from learning more about tools that are available, and how they can achieve desired objectives.
  • They also need to consider the client groups that would most benefit from a particular approach. For example, lower-risk clients would benefit from Remote Check-In or portable alcohol testing through BreathCheck. Higher-risk clients might require a more robust solution like SmartMobile.
  • The ability to upload information – such as a change in living arrangements, contact info, or employment status – would be ideal. So would reminders from monitoring authorities of important appointments related to their legal requirements.

Fortunately, Smart Start devices are connected to SmartWeb, which serves as Mission Control for our technology. It’s a powerful foundation that lets you create customized schedules, easily see client activity, and get instant alerts whenever there’s a violation.

Visit our blog on a regular basis. Learn more about how our technology matches many of the suggestions and observations in the APPA white paper.

Please contact your Business Development Representative for additional information or a demonstration.

Mobile Alcohol Monitoring Makes SmartWeb Valuable

Our SmartWeb™ online platform is the backbone of Smart Start’s mobile alcohol-monitoring technology. We like to think of it as Mission Control not just for Ignition Interlock, but for a robust portfolio of mobile devices like BreathCheck™ or SmartMobile™.

Better yet, it’s an online-based solution. It’s one-stop case management that goes where you go, whenever you need it. If you’ve got a PC, phone or tablet – Android or Apple – you’ve got SmartWeb. It’s easy to work remotely.

That kind of portability is important when your caseload is pulling you in several different directions at once.

Take a Tour of SmartWeb

Ignition Interlock and Mobile Alcohol Monitoring

SmartWeb starts with an intuitive dashboard that gives you a quick, customizable look at all of your accounts. It’s easy to see:

  • At-a-glance, real-time information about a client’s GPS location and testing history.
  • Their account status and key program dates (installation, last service, next service, etc.) – collectively or individually.
  • Any devices being used by the client, including peripherals (like cameras) and cellular information.
  • Any notes you’ve made for an individual account.

SmartWeb Makes Your Workload Easier

No Need to Dig for Data

SmartWeb features an easy search tool that lets you quickly call up individual records. No more scrolling or sorting.

You can also:

  • Quickly filter and analyze specific information like account data and selected events of interest.
  • Easily export or print reports that have all the facts you need.
  • Move easily between accounts through an intuitive, interactive interface.

Take Advantage of Free SmartWeb Training Sessions

Schedules and Testing to Fit Every Client

Each client can present special needs and challenges. You can’t rely on a cookie-cutter approach, especially when a client may be using multiple alcohol-monitoring devices.

SmartWeb gives you drag-and-drop capability to create random, on-demand or regularly scheduled testing. It’s easy to adjust as the situation dictates. No matter the number of clients, you can create programs that fit their needs.

Customizable Smart-Alert® Notification

With customization in mind, you can create Smart-Alerts – individualized notifications of events for Ignition Interlock and portable alcohol monitoring devices via text and/or email. Choose from a list that includes violations, fails, warnings, skipped tests, and attempts to circumvent any device.

You can also create a “Watch List” that lets you focus on specific clients who may require special attention. The information you need is there whenever you need it.

When it comes to managing your DUI and alcohol monitoring cases, we don’t just want to be a solution provider. We’re a resource that helps you keep things running smoothly, whether it’s with Ignition Interlock or portable alcohol monitoring devices.

Talk to your Business Development Representative for more information, including a demonstration. You can also choose from the free training sessions listed below.

SmartWeb Training Sessions

1. Intro to SmartWeb 2. Understanding Your Dashboards
3. Account-Level Detail for Specific Clients 4. GPS and Tracking Client Movement / Check-In
5. Specific Client Details and Reports 6. Changing Client Testing Times and Client Contact
Full SmartWeb Training

State Ignition Interlock Bills Gain Momentum

State legislatures throughout the U.S. are hitting high gear heading into the spring. A number of lawmakers are considering bills that affect drunk driving. However, we’re especially pleased to see three state Ignition Interlock bills that are getting strong consideration.

Even if they don’t pass, they still are positive signs that many legislators are trying to address the threat of drunk and impaired driving. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of these and other bills throughout the year.

South Carolina: First-Offender State Ignition Interlock Bill

A state Ignition Interlock bill being considered in South Carolina would require any first-time DUI offender to have a device installed. The bill passed the state Senate in 2019, and is now being considered by the House Judiciary Committee.

According to The Post and Courier newspaper and website, the Senate bill would also require Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) for people who refuse to take a blood-alcohol test. Currently, their licenses are suspended but they can apply for temporary licenses.

Virginia Also Considers Ignition Interlock Devices for First Offenders

Virginia has traditionally had a restricted-license provision that allows drunk-driving offenders to continue driving to perform various tasks, such as going to and from work. That list has grown over the years to allow for 14 types of trips.

According to the Virginian-Pilot newspaper and website, state legislators are exploring the possibility of a state bill that would make Ignition Interlock Devices mandatory for first offenders whose blood alcohol content is less than 0.15. An IID would be part of any restricted license requirement.

Maryland Pushes to Expand “Noah’s Law”

Two state Ignition Interlock bills are being considered by Maryland legislators. Both would expand on “Noah’s Law,” which currently requires Ignition Interlock Devices for all drunk-driving offenders.

The bills under consideration would extend the IID requirement to anyone who receives probation before judgment for a DUI. Drunk drivers would have to complete 180 days with an IID as a condition of probation.

If you or your clients would like more information about Ignition Interlock Devices, check out our FAQ page.