STUDY: New Report Wants to Reach Zero Drunk Driving Deaths

A new report by a science panel wants to eliminate drunk driving by raising taxes on alcohol purchases, lowering the legal BAC limit to .05 instead of .08, and enacting all-offender Ignition Interlock laws.

The report, Getting to Zero Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities, says there are more alcohol-impaired driving deaths per year than deaths related to certain cancers, HIV/AIDS and drownings. Since 1982, one-third of all traffic fatalities have been related to alcohol.  Despite years of progress, alcohol-impaired driving remains the deadliest and costliest danger on U.S. roads.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) created the report with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The report addresses all sectors involved with drunk driving laws, such as state, federal and local governments, municipalities, health care systems, and others. A couple of their calls to action include more DWI Courts and all-offender laws for Ignition Interlocks.

Mandatory Ignition Interlocks in All States

All-offender Ignition Interlock laws are currently in 30 states, D.C. and four counties in California. Every state has some form of Ignition Interlock law, but the most effective, according to multiple studies, are all-offender. This means anyone arrested for DUI or DWI at a BAC level of .08 needs to install an Ignition Interlock in their vehicle.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) also supports all-offender Ignition Interlock laws in their annual reports to the states to improve drunk driving laws. Given the unfortunate rise in drunk driving deaths, Ignition Interlocks are needed now more than ever on our roadways.

Lowering the BAC Level to .05

The report also calls for all states to lower per se BAC levels to .05. Currently, only Utah has passed legislation to make a .05 BAC limit and won’t be effective until December 2018. All other states have .08 as the BAC limit.

NASEM suggests the federal government incentivize this change to state governments, and create robust media campaigns and enforcement efforts.

Raising Alcohol Taxes and Strengthening Prevention of Illegal Alcohol Sales

The report also recommended states increase their alcohol taxes and make alcohol less convenient to obtain. They propose doing this by reducing the hours and days alcohol is sold in bars, restaurants and stores. NASEM also proposes stronger laws and enforcement to stop illegal alcohol sales, such as to minors or to adults who are already intoxicated.

NASEM is also asking health care systems and health insurers to “cover and facilitate effective evaluation, prevention and treatment strategies for binge drinking and alcohol use disorders.” This could include screening, brief intervention, referral to treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy and medication-assisted therapy.

With this report, and others, publishing year after year urging stakeholders to take precedence on strengthening drunk driving laws, local and federal entities alike can make changes to current laws that leaves a safer place for all.

Enacting all-offender Ignition Interlock laws in all 50 states, and the possible push for other measures NASEM outlines, we could see a safer future on our roadways.

Need an Ignition Interlock?

Smart Start can get you back on the road quickly with a reliable device and 24/7/365 customer service. Call our Customer Care Center to schedule an appointment today at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our short online form.

NEWS: MADD Continues to Support All-Offender Ignition Interlock Law

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) just released their annual Report to the Nation highlighting its campaign to eliminate drunk driving and is recommending all states have strong Ignition Interlock laws.

MADD considers Ignition Interlocks one of the biggest strategies to eliminate drunk driving. Ignition Interlocks are devices installed in vehicles that can physically prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. When the user takes a test, the Ignition Interlock will prevent the vehicle from starting based on the user’s breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) level.

Four-Prong Approach to Eliminate Drunk Driving

The 2018 report says that drunk driving deaths increased for the second subsequent year in a row (2015 and 2016) in the U.S., and MADD suggests a four-pronged approach to combat this alarming increase:

  • Support law enforcement and high-visibility crackdowns
    • In recent years, law enforcement funding was reduced. Some states even considered eliminating sobriety checkpoints because of the limited funding. In the report, however, it says that studies show sobriety checkpoints reduce drunk driving crashes by 20 percent.
  • Pass laws requiring Ignition Interlocks for all drunk driving offenders
  • Advocate for advanced vehicle technology
    • Advanced vehicle technology such as self-driving cars can eliminate drunk driving once and for all, but is still in development.
  • Grow public support
    • Public support is another key component. Without volunteers, public advertisements, grassroots efforts and those who spread awareness otherwise on the dangers of drunk driving, the current success gained, says MADD, would not be possible.

With these four approaches, MADD says there will be tremendous success across the nation in combating drunk driving.

State-by-State Rating on Drunk Driving Laws

The report also addresses each state’s rating to measure the success of MADD’s campaign. The states are judged based on these types of laws:

  • Ignition Interlocks
  • Sobriety Checkpoints
  • Administrative License Revocation
  • Child Endangerment
  • Alcohol Test Refusals

Out of the states, Arizona, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada and West Virginia had the highest state ratings. The lowest were Michigan and Montana. The national average was 2.92 out of 5.

Ignition Interlock Laws in the U.S.

Currently, 30 states and D.C. have all-offender Ignition Interlock laws in place. If an individual commits a first-time DUI offense, or repeats the offense, an Ignition Interlock will most likely need to be installed in their vehicle. Every state has its own Ignition Interlock laws. A few even make the device mandatory for nearly all alcohol convictions.

Each year, MADD makes it a top legislative priority to enact strong Ignition Interlock laws with compliance-based removal. Smart Start proudly stands with MADD in providing this lifesaving technology, and helping those who need a device to get back on the road safely.

Need an Ignition Interlock?

Smart Start can get you back on the road quickly as the worldwide Ignition Interlock provider. Call our Customer Care Center today at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our 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.

LAW: Washington’s Ignition Interlock Compliance-Based Removal Extends to 6 Months

Washington is enforcing a stronger regulation for those who must use an Ignition Interlock Device. The state will now be extending compliance-based Ignition Interlock removal from four to six months to all applicable individuals.

The new law, House Bill 1614, was signed by the Governor and took effect September 1, 2017.

Details on Washington’s New Compliance-Based Ignition Interlock Law

These recent changes extend the compliance-based removal of your Ignition Interlock in Washington. Compliance-based removal means if you did not have any alcohol-related violations, you can have your device removed.

Previously, the compliance period was four months. Individuals now must have six months of compliance with no alcohol-related violations before the Interlock restriction is removed from their license.

In addition to no alcohol-related violations, there are certain factors that cannot occur during your six-month period if you want it removed:

  • Any attempt to start your vehicle with a BAC of .04 or more
  • Failure to take any random test
  • Not passing any random retest with a BAC of .025 or lower
  • You didn’t appear at the service center when required for: maintenance, repair, calibration, monitoring, inspection or replacement of the device.

How Do I Know My Ignition Interlock Removal Date?

Make sure to check with the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) office to confirm the end date of your device. If you are a client, you can also ask the Smart Start Customer Care Center about anything related to your Ignition Interlock program at 800-831-3299.

Get on the Road Again with Smart Start

If you need an Ignition Interlock Device, call Smart Start at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our online form. Our team can provide you any current discounts and set up your installation appointment. All it takes is one phone call to a Customer Care agent at (800) 831-3299 or by completing our form online.

The New Pennsylvania DUI Law: What’s it Mean to You?

August 25 was the date when Pennsylvania kicked off its new DUI law. What changes have been made, and what’s this mean to someone with a DUI conviction? In most cases, an offender will need an Ignition Interlock Device.

Ignition Interlocks are installed in one’s vehicle. When the user blows into the device, it can read their breath alcohol concentration (BrAC). If their BrAC is above the device’s set fail level, the user’s vehicle will not start.

Ignition Interlock Limited License for First-Time DUI Offenders

Pennsylvania’s mandatory use for Ignition Interlocks now expands to first offenders with a BAC level of .10 or above.

The Pennsylvania DUI law will allow an offender who’s eligible to petition PennDOT for an Ignition Interlock limited license. This limited license will let the user continue to drive if they have an Interlock in their vehicle.

Applying for an Ignition Interlock Limited License involves a few steps. First, the individual must complete an Ignition Interlock Limited License Petition, which includes a DL-9108SC form. It must be sent with the required fees and documentation to PennDOT by certified mail to the address listed on the petition.

A Suspended License in Pennsylvania

The alternative is a suspended license, which means the individual can’t drive at all for 12 months. Only after that 12-month period can an offender install an Interlock device.

Before the new law took effect, a first-time offender mostly just received a suspended license. In addition, an Ignition Interlock was only required for a first offender with a BAC of .10 or above under some circumstances. For example, if you refused a breathalyzer test from police, caused injury and/or death, or had a child in your vehicle, one would be required to install an Ignition Interlock.

All-Offender Laws

All-offender Ignition Interlock laws with compliance-based removal proves to be a success in other states. In Arizona, drunk driving fatalities were cut in half in 2014, several years after their all-offender law took effect. Compliance-based removal means offenders ordered on Ignition Interlocks must provide proof that they complied with their order. Once this happens, they can receive unrestricted driving privileges again.

Pennsylvania’s DUI law is keeping drunk drivers off the road and providing a safer environment. It also allows an offender to use an Ignition Interlock and drive instead of losing their license.

Need an Ignition Interlock?

Smart Start can provide you the most reliable device and round-the-clock customer service. Call today to schedule your installation appointment at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our online form.

DUI Law Study: The Strictest and Most Lenient States in 2017

Since states enacted stronger DUI regulations, drunk driving deaths fell 57 percent from 1982 to 2015.  Although this means less tragedy, there is still more work to do to make our nation’s roadways safe. A person still dies every 51 minutes in the U.S. due to a drunk driver.

The Strictest and Most Lenient States on DUI Law

So, which states are the strictest on DUI law, and which are more lenient? WalletHub conducted a study that ranked all 50 states and D.C. overall, including key findings and industry experts’ opinions. The states with stricter DUI regulations are seeing less fatalities and crashes due to impaired driving on their roadways.
Personal finance website WalletHub provided an overall score for the states based on 15 key metrics. The metrics included minimum jail time for first and second DUI convictions, when DUIs are considered a felony, additional penalties for offenders with a high BAC level, and more.

Their mission for this study is to bring attention to the financial downside of driving drunk. More importantly, it brings awareness to what these decisions cost with the loss of innocent lives. Drunk driving crashes also leave people heavily injured, leading to heavy medical bills.

Top 10 Strictest States

1. Arizona – long jail terms
2. Georgia
3. Alaska
4. Kansas
5. Oklahoma
6. Nebraska
7. Connecticut
8. Utah
9. Delaware
10. West Virginia

Top 10 Most Lenient States

1. South Dakota – no mandatory jail time
2. District of Columbia (D.C.)
3. Ohio
4. Idaho
5. North Dakota
6. Maryland
7. New Jersey
8. Michigan
9. Pennsylvania
10. Vermont

Key Findings: Cost of a DUI

The cost of a DUI hits an offender hard on a personal and financial level. It turns out that getting an Uber ride from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, a 3-hour trip, is less expensive than the average, first offense DUI fine of $352. An Uber ride from D.C. to New York, about 4 hours and 30 minutes, is less than a second DUI offense fine of $762 on average.

The study lists that 88 percent of states require offenders to equip their vehicles with an Ignition Interlock after a DUI. The Interlock requirement varies state-by-state, but 30 states, including D.C., make Interlocks mandatory for all offenders. It’s been proven in studies that an all-offender Interlock law is more effective than states that have laxer Interlock requirements laid out.

Ignition Interlocks and DUIs

A good number of the experts in the study touch on the Ignition Interlock legislation. They point out that Ignition Interlocks were a part of the solution in the decline in drunk driving fatalities since the 1980s. Studies show that the recidivism in repeat drunk drivers lessens by 67 percent if they are required to use an Ignition Interlock after the first DUI offense.

It is important for the U.S. to continue its mission of improving drunk driving laws. Recent studies such as WalletHub’s show the progress that is being made to prevent drinking and driving, and what could be improved to make our roadways safer.

Get Back on the Road with Smart Start

Do you need to install an Ignition Interlock? Call Smart Start today at (800) 831-3299 or fill out our simple online form.

New Ignition Interlock Study Shows Increase in Installs Throughout the U.S.

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) released a national study this year on currently installed Ignition Interlocks. TIRF is a road safety research institute that seeks to reduce impaired driving through raising awareness and sharing knowledge that saves lives. Their study is in conjunction with the Association of Ignition Interlock Program Administrators (AIIPA).

This report provides a measure of Ignition Interlock usage and growth in the U.S. on an annual basis. TIRF conducted their research from January 1 through August 31, 2016.

The Report: Currently Active Ignition Interlock Devices and Its Benefit to the U.S.

The purpose of TIRF’s report is to provide accurate and reliable Ignition Interlock data. This data allows states to see and compare an Interlock’s use on a yearly basis in their area. It also enables Interlock program managers and administrators to identify annual increases or decreases in program participation.

Another goal of their study was to provide a current, comprehensive view of Ignition Interlock Devices (IID). It shows how state administrators could modify and improve their current IID laws. Data for the project was gathered from courts, state offices and various Ignition Interlock manufacturers.

In Summary: Ignition Interlock Study Allows States to See Progress and Modify Laws for Improved Road Safety

In conclusion, the study shows there is an increase in Ignition Interlock installs because of the IID manufacturers’ data. The numbers they looked at are from 2015 and 2014.

It is also likely that stricter Ignition Interlock law changes increased participation in DUI offenders to be on the IID program. This data was measured from 11 states, and out of these states, some had passed a stronger Ignition Interlock law.

All in all, the annual Ignition Interlock Study from TIRF is eye-opening and informative. It can persuade other states, because of the numbers and data, to adopt stronger IID laws to combat drunken driving.

Do you need an Ignition Interlock? Smart Start will be able to provide you any current discounts, a quote and will set up your installation appointment. Call our Customer Care Center today at 800-831-3299 or fill out our online form.

CANADA: Government Member Pulled Over for Drunk Driving Supports Ignition Interlocks

In Canada, a member of the Saskatchewan Party caucus pleaded guilty to drunk driving in August 2016. After having to use an Ignition Interlock for a year, he now supports the expanded use of Interlocks throughout the Canadian province.

McMorris Supports Ignition Interlocks

According to news reports, MLA Don McMorris stated that the Interlock system was a “wonderful program,” and that they could end drunk driving.

Ignition Interlock Studies

The numbers from various studies in the U.S. hold true to McMorris’s statement. In the U.S., a comparison study was made between states with all-offender Ignition Interlock laws versus ones with less stringent Interlock regulations.

The difference is extraordinary. All-offender Interlock states have a 15 percent reduction rate in drunk driving fatalities compared to the other states.

In addition, in the same study, it was found that Interlocks are proving to be nearly just as safe as airbags.

Current Saskatchewan Drunk Driving Laws

In Saskatchewan, a new law on impaired driving took effect Jan. 1. First-time offenders with a BAC level between .04 and .08 must have their vehicle impounded for three days. The law also extends to repeat offenders and individuals who refused a breath test to use an Ignition Interlock.

Saskatchewan’s rate of impaired drivers is above the other Canadian regions, and is double the national average.

Stronger Ignition Interlock laws will help lower the percentage of drunk driving in Saskatchewan, and anywhere else worldwide.

Need an Interlock Device? Smart Start can provide the most reliable and efficient Interlock. Our Customer Care Center is 24/7/365, including weekends and holidays, should you need any assistance. We will be able to provide you a quote and set up an installation appointment at your nearest Smart Start service center.

If you are in Canada, please visit our site for more information here.

Call today at 800-831-3299 or fill out our quick and easy online form.

NEWS: Interlock Devices are a Proven Tool to End Drunk Driving

According to recent news articles and studies, Interlock Devices are the most effective and direct tool in reducing drunk driving. In addition, per the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, “Ignition Interlock laws reduce alcohol-involved fatal crashes.”

Interlock Devices Help People

When the Boston Globe interviewed a current Interlock Device client in Massachusetts, she said, “I did not want to face up to it [the Interlock Device]. Now, I realize it has helped me.” She says the Interlock Device allows her to keep working and visit her grandchildren.

The Interlock has also made it easier for her to attend support meetings with others to maintain sobriety.

Massachusetts is only one out of two states “without laws granting a judge the authority to order first-time offenders to use an Interlock Device.” Interlock Devices are only required for drivers with multiple DUI convictions. They will need one for at least two years.

Interlocks Reduce Repeat DUI Offenses

Requiring an Interlock Device after a repeat offense is not as effective as preventing a first-time offender from becoming a repeat offender. Reducing repeat drunk driving offenses is one of the many strong benefits Interlock Devices offer.

Interlock Devices also reduce drunk driving-involved fatalities and crashes time and time again.

All-offender states are a proven success to reduce drunken driving. In fact, Oklahoma and Nebraska just joined ranks with the 28 other states and DC in becoming all-offender Interlock Device states. That means more than half the nation is enacting safer measures to Separate Drinking From Driving®.

Smart Start always supports the fact that Interlock Devices allow people to contribute to society. It also allows individuals to continue with their everyday routine again.

With the best breath alcohol technology available, Smart Start’s Interlocks are accurate, reliable and fast with every test.

Do you need an Interlock Device for your vehicle? Call Smart Start today at 800-831-3299 or fill out our simple and quick online form.