New LifeSafer Ignition Interlock Location:
Central Garage in Lake Placid, New York

If you need an oil change in Lake Placid, New York, you might well entrust your car to Central Garage. So might have your parents – or your grandparents! Central garage has been changing spark plugs and fixing ball joints since 1959.

Central Garage  Lifesafer Ignition Interlock providerNow this venerable garage has joined the LifeSafer family. They are available to install, monitor and service LifeSafer ignition interlocks.

Cars have changed since Eisenhower was president, but their standards of service remain high – they would have to, to stick around for more than a half century. Central garage serves Wilmington, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, and other towns in the Tri-Lakes region. Jay Strack, one of the proprietors, says that Central Garage offers a complete service – anything from tires to brakes to engine work. “We take care of our customers here,” says Jay, “and we do it at a reasonable price.”

59-chevyFive technicians are at the ready to help customers get rolling again fast. And now those very able technicians will be installing and calibrating your LifeSafer ignition interlock.

If you need an ignition interlock in the Lake Placid area, call 888-812-9495 or go here to make an appointment.

Your Hump-Day Recess:
Dramatic Buzzed Driving PSA

Over these last months, our Hump Day Recess has featured a number of anti-drunk driving messages of different types. We’ve praised the various departures from the traditional “scare” ad – messages that work through humor, or by thinking through the other consequences of drunk driving (personal, financial, social), rather than just the dangers.

But occasionally it’s good to be reminded of the dangers. From Texas, which has a reputation for intriguing ads promoting sober driving, comes an ad aimed at millennials. The subject is buzzed driving – the practice of driving after one has drunk enough to get a slight “buzz” – a relaxed feeling that does not feel like true impairment, but definitely is. Also embedded in the ad is the idea of interruption – that one accident changes everything in life: friendships, plans, good times. Well done, Texas Department of Transportation.

Your Hump Day Recess: Every Wednesday LifeSafer brings you something a little different, related to the worlds of road safety, to ease your progress over Hump Day and through the week.

Previous Hump Days: car safety, animals, posters. traffic jams, more posters, fake microbrews a German Ignition Interlock spoof from 1960, a Star Wars anti-drunk driving messageour Top 10 Worst Crash Tests, a different kind of Anti-DUI message, Budweiser’s dogged anti-DUI campaign, How Not to Dodge a Parking Ticket, a Cool 1950s Soviet Anti Drunk Driving Poster, He Got a DUI on a WHAT? a 1970s Alcohol Mythbuster,  Halloween Drunk Driving, a brewery that keeps its anti-drunk driving message under its cap, and a thought-provoking UK ad celebrating 50 years of their historic Think! campaign.

4 Reasons Why the DUI Limit
Should be Lowered to .05

Most American drivers know the significance of the number .08. That is the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level that marks the legal definition of impairment. If you are arrested with a BAC of .08 or above, you face serious charges in almost all states. Punishments can include fines, jail time, and ignition interlocks, which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

But is .08 low enough? The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) doesn’t think so. Neither do some researchers.

DUI-MeterIn May of this year the NTSB recommended lowering the legal limit to .05. A press release announced the organization’s position: “research … showed that although impairment begins with the first drink, by 0.05 BAC, most drivers experience a decline in both cognitive and visual functions, which significantly increases the risk of a serious crash.” The statement went on to recommend the .05 limit for all 50 states.

Independent non-profit Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation published a comprehensive review of the literature on BAC limits. The review supports the NTSB’s recommendation.

The PIRE study points out four facts that make a convincing case for lowering the current .08 limit to .05:

  • Virtually all drivers lose some driving ability at a BAC of .05
  • The risk of being involved in a crash increases at that BAC level
  • If there is a crash, the risk of being killed in it also increases if the driver is at the .05 level
  • Lowering the limit has been effective in many countries. In fact, most industrialized nations have DUI laws prohibiting driving with a BAC of .05 or greater

For the record, an average male would need at least four drinks within 2 hours to exceed .05. An average-sized female would need three. Most people would admit that they can’t bring their A-game to driving with that many drinks in them. Yet laws in the US do not keep them from getting behind the wheel.

The NTSB noted other effective anti-drunk-driving strategies as well:

  • High-visibility enforcement efforts, such as sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols
  • Specialized DWI courts in addressing the challenge of repeat offenders

The NTSB also supports ignition interlock legislation, and recommends that states put in place methods to improve compliance with interlock laws.

Will the DUI limit be lowered to .05 anytime soon? Supporters will find it hard going. States have varying approaches to drunk driving, from over-lenient to incredibly tough. Imposing the lower BAC limit on drivers will probably only happen if the federal government takes the lead, as it did with seat belts and other road safety measures in the past.

A DUI Conviction Never Blows Over

You might think you know the consequences of a DUI conviction. The anti-drunk-driving ads usually lay out the basics: an arrest for driving under the influence can lead to fines, jail time, and loss of license. Many states mandate an ignition interlock on your vehicle, even for a first DUI offense. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

background-checkYou might think it will eventually blow over, and you can put it all behind you.

Except you can’t. If the judge pronounces you guilty, there are a lot more changes to your life that you need to deal with, ones that can have an effect long after the jail time is over, the interlock is removed, and the fine is paid.

Insurance Costs Skyrocket. There is no way to escape a rise in car insurance after a DUI. Expect to pay an extra $1100 a year, or more. For how long? That depends on how many years your state keeps DUIs on record. It can be three years, or ten. So chances are you’ll part with thousands. Your health insurance will cost more, if you don’t get denied a policy. And your life insurance rate will also go up.

Travel Restrictiondrinker-transparents. Some countries don’t allow anyone with a DUI into the country; Canada and the UK are examples, as are China and Japan. So you’ll have to check before you go abroad on vacation, to see if you’re welcome in that country. And it won’t be possible to rent a car while traveling either.LoanAppDenied

Employment hassles. If your work requires access to vehicles, you’re in trouble. If you’re in the military, you could be discharged. Are you a scoutmaster? Teacher? Anyone who works with kids? You might not have that option anymore. If you own a franchise, the main office might have a clause excluding you from your contract. Many businesses, (car insurance, pharmaceuticals, law enforcement) will terminate you because of their own rules or because their insurance company demands it.

Education hassles. You can lose scholarships if you have a DUI.

Loan difficulties. Ever notice how, on loan applications, you’re asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony? You’ll have to answer “Yes” now. And you will probably pay a higher interest rate.

More hassles. Think of another place you’ve seen that question about felony conviction: on a lease. If you’re renting an apartment, you might not be able to choose where to live. A lot of landlords can afford to be choosy. A lot of professional certifications (as a nurse or therapist for example) will be out of bounds. Your credit score will go down. And anyone who Googles you (friend, prospective employer, prospective spouse) might find your mug shot.

It’s something to think about when you’ve had that last drink and you’re contemplating whether to call a taxi or risk a drive home. A DUI never blows over.

What One Man’s Admission Says About
Wisconsin Drunk Driving Laws

A Wisconsin man is going to prison for his eighth drunk driving conviction. Every state has many such repeat offenders, and the four-and-a-half year sentence George Gamboeck George-Gamboeckis about to undergo seems appropriate. But what is remarkable about Gamboeck’s case is what he told investigators: that he had driven intoxicated hundreds of times.

While Gamboeck’s admission is unusual, it’s far from surprising to law enforcement personnel or alcohol counselors. There are always those who, for a variety of reasons, refuse to admit that they can’t get behind the wheel after drinking.

The Repeat Offender Problem

What to do about hardcore repeat OWI offenders? Wisconsin drunk driving laws appear not to be up to the job. Suspensions don’t work – Gamboeck had a suspended license, as many such offenders do. More than half of suspended drivers continue to drive. But if Gamboeck had had an ignition interlock on his vehicle, the three-car-crash that caused his arrest would never have happened. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

A Better Way: How Washington State Handles Repeat Offenders

Some states have ignition interlock laws that help keep serious repeat offenders off the road. If Gamboeck had committed his third OWI in Washington State instead of Wisconsin, he would have had to have an ignition interlock on his vehicle for ten years. And even then, he could not have it removed if he failed to blow clean tests for four months in a row. In short, he would have either driven sober, or Drinking and drivinghe’d have stayed in his driveway. Missouri adds up to six months to an offender’s interlock period if they fail a breath test. With laws like that, people who do not have an alcohol problem, or who manage it successfully, can remove their interlocks after the period is over. And those who continue to drink will not be able to drive.

Ignition interlocks are the closest thing we have to a solution for the problem that drunk drivers like Gamboeck represent. They can’t cure alcoholism, but they can keep those who are out of control from endangering their fellow drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

New LifeSafer Location in Pennsylvania: Maximum Car Security & Audio of Reading, PA

Maximum-Car-Security-LifeSafer-SignIf you are doing up your ride in Reading, Pennsylvania – or anywhere in the eastern part of the state – chances are that you’ve dealt with Maximum Car Security & Audio.  Formerly in Kenhorst, the well-known shop has now moved to a new location on Arlington Street in Reading, Pennsylvania. A longtime provider of LifeSafer ignition interlocks, Maximum Car Security & Audio will continue to give customers the shop’s premium brand of service, installing, monitoring, servicing and removing ignition interlocks and taking care of the needs of LifeSafer’s customers in the Reading area.

Over the past 11 years, Maximum has served drivers from Philadelphia and New York and beyond. They offer a full line of car modifications including remote start, alarms, keyless entry, audio, headliners, tires, rims, vinyl work, tinting, and more.

Maximum-Secuity-Audio-LifesaferThe owner, Jay C. Galan, has worked on the cars of well-known athletes and other notables, who spread the word about his services. “The customer is number 1 with me,” says Jay. “With the Internet, there are a lot of choices, but my pricing, customer service, and long experience people keep coming back.”

Maximum works on all makes of vehicles. Whether it’s an interlock or a new alarm system, Maximum has the knowledge of car electrical systems to make the installation precise and flawless.

If you’re looking to install an ignition interlock, and you’re in Reading or anywhere in eastern Pennsylvania, call 888-812-9495 or go here to book your appointment at Maximum Car Security and Audio. They’ll get you back on the road legally, and safely and without delay.

Your Hump-Day Recess: Brilliant UK Ad
Celebrates 50-Year Decline in Drunk Driving

Nobody does advertising like the Brits. Their knack for ads that surprise you and make you think is unmatched in the world of communications. Case in point: the Department for Transport’s PSA celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UK’s Don’t Drink and Drive Campaign.

As the Department’s site points out, attitudes have changed over those years. Some 92% of UK drivers are ashamed to drink and drive.  As anyone who lived there in the 1960s can attest, it was not always so. Back in those days it was against the law to drive if one were “drunk and incapable” – a vague designation easy to evade. Which is why alcohol claimed more than 1,600 lives on the road in 1964.

Now it’s down to 230.  But the ad’s point, made brilliantly to the nostalgic music of Kool and the Gang, is that the work is not yet finished:

The UK campaign is called Think! and it is based on a five-point strategy:

  • Beware the morning after: you could be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink, even if it’s the “morning after”
  • There is no excuse for drink driving: we’ve all heard the excuses, but they don’t change the facts
  • If you’re planning to drink, plan your trip home: designated driver, public transport, whatever it takes
  • Don’t offer alcohol to someone you know will drive
  • Don’t accept a lift from a driver you know has been drinking

It’s not a lot to have to remember. But clearly it’s saved a lot of UK lives.

Your Hump Day Recess: Every Wednesday LifeSafer brings you something a little different, related to the worlds of road safety, to ease your progress over Hump Day and through the week.

Previous Hump Days: car safety, animals, posters. traffic jams, more posters, fake microbrews a German Ignition Interlock spoof from 1960, a Star Wars anti-drunk driving messageour Top 10 Worst Crash Tests, a different kind of Anti-DUI message, Budweiser’s dogged anti-DUI campaign, How Not to Dodge a Parking Ticket, a Cool 1950s Soviet Anti Drunk Driving Poster, He Got a DUI on a WHAT? a 1970s Alcohol Mythbuster,  Halloween Drunk Driving, and a brewery that keeps its anti-drunk driving message under its cap.

Man Tries to Beat a DWI By
Eating Breath Test Results

Experienced drinkers know that one way to lessen the effects of alcohol is to eat something. It won’t keep you from getting drunk, but it will slow the absorption of alcohol into the system, making the journey back from impairment a bit faster.

Do Not eat Breathalyzer results after a DUIHowever, there are caveats.

  1. Do not eat paper
  2. Especially if that paper is the results of a DWI test the police have just given you

Most people do not need the above advice, but one man clearly did. State troopers in Tarrytown, New York arrested a suspected drunk driver and brought him to the Tarrytown state police barracks for a breathalyzer test. When the results emerged from the printer, the suspect grabbed the paper and tried to swallow it.

Needless to say, the suspect did not make his case disappear.

Why Breathalyzers Work

Our suspect had good reason to try to hide the results: they are a reliable indicator of drunkenness, which is caused by alcohol in the bloodstream. The greater the concentration of alcohol, the greater impairment a person will feel. However, it’s not practical (nor, in most states, legal) to take the blood of a suspected drunk driver. Instead, police use a breathalyzer, which relies breathalyzeron the fact that when alcohol is in the blood, it also appears on the breath in a pretty constant  2100-to-1 ratio. This means that for every 2100 milliliters of alcohol in the blood, one milliliter will appear on the breath.

The breathalyzer can measure breath alcohol, and the resulting BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) with surprising accuracy. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, attaches a circuit to the breathalyzer which disables a vehicle’s starter when a certain amount of alcohol is detected on a driver’s breath. About half the states in the country now require ignition interlocks to be placed on the vehicles of DUI offenders.

New York is one of those states. It’s quite likely that our eater of DWI results will be using an ignition interlock before too long.

Ignition Interlocks and DWI Courts: Has Michigan Found the Winning Combination?

Michigan has found a one-two punch that appears to be effective against repeat drunk driving offenders: DWI courts and ignition interlocks. There is strong evidence that these two proven strategies for reducing impaired driving, when used together, are even more powerful.

First, some definitions:boxers

  • A DWI court isn’t a court in the traditional sense – it’s a judicially supervised program that combines comprehensive intervention, treatment, counseling, and monitoring designed to change the behavior of drunk drivers by getting them to take responsibility for their actions.
  • An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, is a device wired into a vehicle’s ignition system that prevents it from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Both of these approaches have had success on their own in reducing recidivism. But Michigan’s inspired idea was to combine the two: the DWI court to help the offender change his or her behavior, and the ignition interlock to protect the public directly from those who would get behind the wheel while drunk.

The purpose of adding the interlock was to give the offender mobility, so he or she could more easily make it to counseling and court dates. But three years on, the combination has proven uniquely successful.

Dramatic Results

  • Success Rate: The program’s creators wisely required that the combination’s effectiveness be evaluated. The results are in now. One very impressive statistic: the program success rate (people who completed DWI Court) for the group with interlocks: almost 90%. For the group without interlocks: around 66%.
  • Compliance Rate: While ignition interlocks appear to boost DWI court success, it works both ways: 98.2% of program participants who were ordered by the Michigan DWI court judge to install an ignition interlock on their vehicles complied. Usually, compliance with car breathalyzer installation (or license suspension, for that matter) is around 50%. Such a high rate of compliance signals a dramatic success.

Impaired driving is a widespread, persistent problem. Courts and legislators tend to try the same solutions again and again, regardless of their success record. License suspensions, which rarely discourage repeat offenders, are usually the first resort, despite our knowledge that drunk drivers (and other offenders) tend to continue to drive without a license.

Now we have evidence that a solution does exist. The combination of DWI court and ignition interlocks, if not a knockout punch, is a powerful tool that looks capable of reducing significantly the carnage that impaired drivers wreak on our highways every day of the year. We encourage everyone to read the report on the program’s success, and the thoughts of a Michigan judge who agrees that the program works.

Moreover, we urge everyone to tell their legislators that the DWI Court/Ignition Interlock combination will help avert needless death and injury in their states as well.

Can Other People Drive my
Ignition Interlock-Equipped Car?

If you require an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle, you might be wondering about the other people who will be driving it as well. Perhaps you share your car with a spouse, or let your teenager drive from time to time.Lifesafer ignition interlock rolling re-tet

Some of the questions we encounter during installations:

  • Will others will be allowed to drive my car?
  • Are there any restrictions on the use of the car or the interlock by other people?
  • Can the interlock be disabled so that others don’t need to blow into it?

First question first: there’s no problem letting others drive your interlock-equipped car. Your DMV or court order probably states that you must have an IID on any vehicle you operate. However, anyone else who wants to can use your interlock-equipped vehicle. They just need to blow into the handset, the same as you do. That includes blowing in it to start the car, and doing periodic rolling retests.

Your spouse can drive your interlock-equipped vehicleHowever, it’s important that anyone using the car is trained properly in the use of the interlock. At LifeSafer we will train any additional users free of charge. Using an interlock is not hard, but proper instruction is important to avoid fails.

Note that there is no way to “disable” the interlock for other users, so everyone who drives the vehicle will need to use the interlock.

And of course, as the driver with the interlock mandate, you are responsible for any fails that show up on your test record. So it’s vitally important that other drivers use no alcohol before operating an interlock-equipped vehicle.

Consider that last point a bonus: anyone who drives your vehicle will be safe and unimpaired on the road, just as you will. That’s the whole idea of interlocks in the first place.