Florida considers tougher threshold for drunk drivers' ignition interlock systems

12:19 PM, Dec 10, 2012   |    comments
An employee of LifeSaver, Inc. checks the installation of an ignition interlock. Lifesaver interlocks have been installed on more than 600,000 vehicles over the past 20 years in the U.S.
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Tallahassee, Florida - Spend a lot of time on the roads?

Consider this: 9,000 Florida drivers are currently required to blow into a special device to make sure they're not drunk before they hit the roads.

Florida has mandated ignition interlock devices for some convicted drunk drivers since 2004. Since then, nearly 65,000 people have been forced to blow into the device before they turn the ignition key.

The equipment prevents a car from starting if it measures a blood-alcohol level above 0.05.

But that level is too high, according to the executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Julie Jones is pushing for legislation that would lower the blood-alcohol level for these devices.

"Florida has one of the highest blood-alcohol thresholds in the nation to activate the device at .05. We're proposing to lower that to .025, which puts it more in line with national standards."

Convicted drunk drivers must use ignition interlock devices if they have been convicted of multiple DUI's, had a blood-alcohol level of .15 or higher, or if they had a minor in their car when arrested.

Courts typically order first-time DUI offenders to use the ignition interlock for about seven months, while the length of time for multiple DUI offenders is 14 months or longer.

Dave Heller

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