In case you missed it, Florida ignition interlock requirements may get a lot tougher this year. House Bill 949 is making the rounds through the Florida Legislature, and this could be the year the state finally has an all-offender IID requirement. Florida lawmakers are considering requiring first-time DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles instead of after a second offense or if the device is court-ordered. The bill would require installing a Florida ignition interlock device on someone’s vehicle after their first drunken driving conviction. Florida lawmakers also hope to amend SB 918 to also require ignition interlocks for all drunk drivers.
An ignition interlock is a device which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. The device works like a breathalyzer, measuring the alcohol in a person’s system. If the amount of alcohol on the driver’s breath exceeds a pre-programmed level, then the interlock temporarily locks the vehicle’s ignition.
Current law requires DUI offenders to install an interlock device only if a judge orders it. If the person blew a .15 percent or above, he or she is required to have an ignition interlock requirement installed. On the second conviction, a device must be installed for at least one year. Four or more DUI convictions require that a device remains on a vehicle for at least five years. Proponents of the bill say it will save lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 797 people died in drunk driving crashes in Florida in 2015. The CDC says these devices reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by 67%
Twenty-eight states and Washington, D.C. require ignition interlocks for drivers convicted of DUI offenses at a .08 percent and above.
It’s more important for the interlock devices to prevent future DUI accidents and save lives. There are approximately 9,000 interlock devices active in Florida at any given time. Florida would join 28 other states and the District of Columbia with similar laws. Take action, contact your Florida legislators now and show your support for Florida ignition interlock expansion!