A DUI bill proposal (House Bill 7005) making its way through the Florida legislature would place repeat drunk driving offenders in a 24/7 Sobriety program rather than require them to install an ignition interlock device. Currently, all repeat DUI offenders in Florida are required to install an interlock. Under HB 7005, interlocks would not be mandatory unless ordered at a judge’s discretion.
Used in other states to keep repeat DUI offenders sober, the 24/7 Sobriety abstinence program would require participants to submit to a breath test twice a day. Participants can also be monitored through random urinalysis or continuous monitoring devices, such as ankle bracelets.
The bill comes at a time when Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and ignition interlock vendors in the state are fighting to expand the use of interlocks to first-time DUI offenders. However, HB 7005 could actually decrease interlock use.
According to Julie Jones, executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 24/7 Sobriety programs are more effective than interlocks because offenders are more likely to comply with the program. Sue Holley, executive director of the Northeast Florida Safety Council, notes that while interlocks work for some drivers, they don’t stop them from drinking altogether, which is the root of the problem. According to data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 6,000 of the 68,048 drivers ordered to install interlocks in the past ten years have received subsequent DUIs. 1,000 of those offenders committed the offense while using an interlock.
Supporters of the bill further report that abstinence-based programs significantly reduce both drunk and drugged driving and other alcohol- or drug-related offenses, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
At Car Breathalyzer Help, we believe that both interlock installation and sobriety programs can help keep repeat offenders from both drinking and driving while impaired, especially if used simultaneously. By implementing both methods, alcohol abuse or addiction is addressed and drunk drivers are kept off the road if they fall off the wagon.