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.

Ignition Interlock on School Buses Makes Sense

Nearly 700,000 school bus drivers keep our kids safe going to and from school each day. But a recent study of incidents involving impaired school bus drivers reveals that school districts might benefit from safety measures. Ignition Interlock on school buses would be a step in the right direction.

A recent special report by Stateline (an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts) offers insight about the impact of impaired school bus drivers. Of course, the overwhelming majority of school bus drivers are dedicated to making sure it’s a safe ride. But Stateline points out that more than 1,620 schoolchildren in 38 states have been affected by impaired drivers since 2015.

Ignition Interlock on School Buses Can Make a Difference

According to Stateline’s analysis, more than 118 drivers were arrested for operating a school bus while allegedly impaired. Other data suggests that many additional impaired school bus drivers have been identified through random drug and alcohol screenings.

Stateline says that a number of advocates are pushing for Ignition Interlock Devices on school buses. They also note that the program director at the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance believes that every school bus should have an alcohol detection device on board.

Ignition Interlock Device FAQs

Looking at Recent School Bus Incidents

Stateline’s investigation is underscored by recent incidents:

  • On Jan. 20, an Ohio school bus driver was arrested while driving a group of high school basketball players to a game. Police said his Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was .075. The legal limit for school bus drivers in Ohio is .04.
  • In December 2019, police charged a school bus driver in Somers, New York, with aggravated DWI. They alleged that his BAC was 0.22.
  • In September 2019, a Longview, Washington, school bus driver was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment and DUI. She was apprehended after a child aboard the bus called 911.

An Attorney Recommends Smart Start Ignition Interlock

Potential Solutions to Deter Impaired Driving on School Buses

Stateline cited other incidents, and noted that potential deterrence strategies include:

  • Ignition Interlocks for school bus drivers.
  • Visual check-ins to screen drivers who might be impaired.
  • Random drug and alcohol testing.
  • A federal database that identifies drivers who have previous drug and alcohol testing violations.

We applaud the hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers who put children’s safety first. But – as any proponent of drunk driving prevention will tell you – even one accident is too many. That’s why Ignition Interlock Devices for school buses would make a real difference.

You can get more information by visiting our website, or talking with your regional Business Development Representative.

California is Saving More Lives with Stronger Ignition Interlock Law

Like 31 other states and D.C., California will start requiring Ignition Interlock Devices for all DUI cases starting January 2019.

An Ignition Interlock Device measures the user’s breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) before they can start their vehicle. If the user’s test results have a BrAC reading at or above the device’s set fail limit, the vehicle will not start.

California’s Ignition Interlock Pilot Program

Since 2010, California mandated Ignition Interlocks for all DUI cases but only in four counties as a pilot program to measure its success. Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare County began this program, which required individuals with a DUI conviction in these counties to install an Ignition Interlock Device for a certain amount of time. The legislation stated that the program would last until December 31, 2015, and since then, the results have exceeded expectations, which fueled the start to a state-wide, “all-offender” Ignition Interlock law.

Pilot Program Results

In the DMV’s study of their Ignition Interlock pilot program, they found that Ignition Interlocks are 74 percent more effective in reducing DUI recidivism than license suspension alone for first-time DUI cases. Ignition Interlocks are also 45 percent more effective in preventing a repeat DUI incidence when compared to license suspension alone.

Not only that, but multiple studies nationwide and in various states see the same outcome with Ignition Interlocks, in addition to reduced alcohol-involved fatal crashes.

Smart Start congratulates California for taking a huge step forward to prevent drinking and driving. California will only experience safer roadways as Ignition Interlocks become more of a requirement in DUI cases in the future.

Get Back on the Road with a Smart Start Ignition Interlock

If you need an Ignition Interlock in California, Smart Start is your provider. We offer fair pricing, many convenient service locations and friendly, knowledgeable customer service available 24/7/365. Schedule an installation appointment today and call (800) 831-3299 or fill out our online form.

Nevada Ignition Interlock Law Expands to Save More Lives

Nevada Ignition Interlock Law Expands to Save More Lives

Nevada just recently enacted a law that will expand Ignition Interlock use to those with a DUI. What started on October 1, 2018 will save lives and make Nevada’s roadways safer.

About the New Nevada Ignition Interlock Law

Nevada now requires anyone arrested with a .08 BAC level or above to install an Ignition Interlock. Upon conviction, a judge will require an Ignition Interlock for not less than 185 days, or approximately six months.

In Nevada’s previous law, first-time DUI cases were not required to install an Ignition Interlock unless their BAC level was at .18 or above. Now, for first or second DUI cases with a .18 BAC level or higher, the Interlock Device is a requirement between 12 to 36 months.

Individuals will have no more than 14 days after the issued order to install an Ignition Interlock Device. The Interlock can also be installed during pre-sentencing.

In many national studies, “all-offender” Ignition Interlock laws are the most effective by reducing recidivism and saving lives. As Nevada paves the way for creating stronger DUI laws, Smart Start, as a state-certified Interlock provider, will be available to assist with an affordable Ignition Interlock program.

Need to Install an Ignition Interlock?

Smart Start can assist you with getting back on the road, whether you’re in Nevada or elsewhere in the U.S. With a discreet Interlock Device and friendly customer service, you’ll be in good hands! Schedule your installation appointment with Smart Start today by calling (800) 831-3299 or by filling out our online form.

New Jersey Can Save More Lives with Stronger Ignition Interlock Law

The New Jersey DUI and DWI law could be changing soon with Ignition Interlock Devices and shorter license suspension periods.

DUI/DWI New Jersey Law

The current law in New Jersey states that license suspensions can range from three months to 10 years depending on the severity of the DUI/DWI incident for first-time cases. In this proposed change to the state legislation, the suspension period will be drastically shorter with a range between 30 to 90 days. If the individual opts to drive again during this suspension, they will need to install an Ignition Interlock Device.

What the Proposed DUI/DWI New Jersey Bill Means

This potential legislation will help keep New Jersey roads safer and will allow individuals to get back to their everyday routine by driving with restricted privileges. Several studies reveal that individuals during a license suspension period are likely to drive anyway. An Ignition Interlock installed in their vehicle can prevent drunk driving.

Below are the proposed requirement periods for individuals with a DUI/DWI in New Jersey.

  • The Ignition Interlock requirement period can range from three to 18 months. First DUI/DWI cases with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between .08 and .10 will need the Interlock Device between three to six months. The license suspension period will be 30 days.
  • Individuals with a BAC between .10 to .15 will need the Interlock Device between seven months to a year with a license suspension period for 45 days.
  • Those with a BAC of .15 or higher will have the Interlock Device for a year to 18 months and a license suspension period of 90 days.
  • Those who refuse their breathalyzer tests will have higher penalties.

The proposed law will also double the length of license suspension for repeat cases. Current New Jersey law states that the suspension period is two years.

The bill is moving steps closer to becoming law for first-time DUI/DWI cases in New Jersey. Smart Start applauds New Jersey’s efforts to enforce a stronger DUI/DWI law. Ignition Interlocks are the most reliable technology to prevent drunk driving, and with the opportunity for individuals to install them sooner rather than later, the state can see safer roadways and save lives.

Need an Ignition Interlock Now?

If you are in a situation where you need to install an Ignition Interlock in New Jersey, or anywhere in the U.S., Smart Start can help. Schedule your Ignition Interlock installation appointment now by calling (800) 831-3299 or by filling out our online form.

NEWS: All-Offender Ignition Interlock Laws Save Lives

Ignition Interlocks continue to prove that they save lives every day. It’s been recently proven that states with an all-offender Ignition Interlock law see a reduction of fatal vehicle crashes by 16 percent compared to states that have no Ignition Interlock requirement.

In addition, states requiring Ignition Interlocks for repeat or high BAC offenders see an eight percent decrease, and those that require Ignition Interlocks for repeat offenders see a three percent decrease.

When comparing the numbers, all-offender Ignition Interlock laws have the greatest impact on U.S. roads. As of March 2018, 31 states and D.C. have an all-offender Ignition Interlock law in place.

Drunk Driving: The Leading Cause of Death on U.S. Roads

In 2016, more than 10,000 people were killed in crashes that involved a drunk driver with a BAC of .08 or higher. The study says that if all 50 states enacted an all-offender law, more than 500 lives could be saved each year.

Ignition Interlock infographic depicting decreasing fatal crash percentages with IID requirements

Ignition Interlock infographic from IIHS

An Ignition Interlock is the only proven technology that protects the public and the driver by preventing a vehicle from starting if the driver is alcohol-impaired. They also allow the driver to continue with their daily lives by being able to drive to work or school.

The recently published study, “State Alcohol Ignition Interlock Laws and Fatal Crashes,” comes from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).

With the effective use of Ignition Interlocks across all 50 states, many lives could be saved with safer roadways.

Additional Studies Supporting Ignition Interlocks

Need an Ignition Interlock to Get Back on the Road?

Smart Start can help as the worldwide provider of Ignition Interlocks with 2,000 service locations and 24/7/365 customer service. Make sure to ask for any current discounts or specials in your state! Schedule your installation appointment today by calling (800) 831-3299 or by filling out our online form.

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.