Give the Gift of Life, Don’t Drink and Drive!

When I was thinking of the topic I wanted to write about this month, of course I thought of Christmas and I thought of all the Holiday events and Parties that people will be attending to celebrate the Season.  I thought of the many cases of drunk driving incidents we will hear in the news and the cases of driving under the influence of alcohol that we continue to hear, unfortunately on a daily basis on the news and in the newspaper which brought me to my subject matter I will write about this month, Ignition Interlock Systems.

Within this past year, I was contacted by Smart Start a manufacturer of Ignition Interlock Systems and was asked to come aboard to become an Installer of these devices and was intrigued to learn more about the systems as well as you may be to know what an Ignition Interlock System is, how it operates and why you install such a device in your vehicle.

Smart Start ignition interlock products are breath alcohol analyzers that keep drivers with DWIs/DUIs from operating vehicles if their breath alcohol level is over a pre-set level.  The small electronic handheld devices are a cost-effective alternative to jail or license suspension, and allow offenders to keep driving.  An interlock System can be court ordered or can be voluntarily installed.  Obviously, if the device is court ordered the order comes from the Judge directly, if you have a device voluntarily installed that is a choice you make or a parent might make for a child to monitor alcohol use.   Smart Start is the only company in the industry offering fully integrated services – manufacturing, installation, service and comprehensive monitoring and reporting.  A Custom Car Stereo would install a breath alcohol analyzer on your vehicle that is electronically connected to the ignition.  When you breathe into the unit for several seconds, it measures your breath alcohol level and compares it to predetermined limits. If your breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) is over the authorized limit, your vehicle will not start.  If your BrAC is within the allowable range, you’re on your way.  As you are driving, you will be required to take periodic “rolling tests.”  From time to time, you will be required to take your vehicle to a local Smart Start service center such as A Custom Car Stereo Center. As a certified technician, I will service the interlock device and schedule your next appointment. You’ll also make your initial lease payment at this time.

In 2009, Smart Start, Inc. (SSI) announced the successful introduction of its Photo Identification Ignition Interlock device. This patented technology ties photographs of the interlock user to an ignition interlock device. The device identifies who is actually taking the breath test, on each and every test, or attempted test.  A  photo identification can be an added to a present interlock system as an added sanction to the person.

The National Safety Council recognizes that ignition interlocks are proven effective in reducing drunk driving and encourages states to enact legislation to require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.

Legislation is presently being presented at the State House to impose stricter laws requiring the use of Ignition Interlock systems.  As we all know, Rhode Island most definitely needs to impose stricter laws for Driving under the Influence.  The Laws presently in place under Rhode Island General Laws 31-27-2 entitled “Driving under the influence of Liquor or Drugs” states the sentencing guidelines for Judges to imposed upon a Defendant, while these sentencing guidelines are mandatory, it is not mandatory to have an Ignition Interlock System installed in a Defendant’s vehicle, a Judge may prohibit that person from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system for a period of two (2) years following the completion of the sentence as provided in § 31-27-2.8.

Evidence collected over the last ten years by at least eight research groups in the U.S. and Canada indicates a 40% to 95% reduction in repeat DWI/DUI offenses by offenders while using interlocks. Because DWI/DUI is a strong predictor of crash involvement and death rates, reducing instances of it can impact overall public safety.

Next month, I will continue my discussion on this topic as I will get into detail exactly how an Ignition Interlock System operates as if one was installed in your vehicle.

Give the Gift of Life, Don’t Drink and Drive!!

Until then, Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!

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