MADD Seeks More Ignition Interlocks Instead Of 2x Daily Breathalyzer

Field Sobriety TestAs part of Florida’s 24-7 Sobriety Program, Florida lawmakers are pushing for repeat driving under the influence (DUI) offenders to submit to twice daily breath tests. They’ve proposed a house bill that would require Breathalyzer testing as an alternative to the installation of ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of DUI offenders, but Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has their own suggestions for the bill.

Florida’s 24-7 Sobriety Program is used as a condition of sentence or probation for DUI offenders. There are several methods the program uses to encourage the offender to change their behavior including drug patches, urine tests, twice-a-day breath tests using a breathalyzer, and transdermal monitoring systems. To rehabilitate drunk drivers, those who participate may be required by the court to use one or several methods. Twice daily breath testing is the most common method used, and if the test shows the offender has consumed alcohol they could be penalized with jail time.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving believes the ignition interlock system is the best option for repeat DUI offenders in Florida because it won’t let the offender drive after consuming alcohol. Rather than switch to a plan that involves twice daily breath tests, drug patches, or ankle bracelets, MADD would like to see the ignition interlock program expanded to include Florida’s first time DUI offenders as well.

In 2011, there were 33,625 DUI convictions in Florida, and Florida’s DUI laws currently require second and repeat offenders to install an ignition interlock device as part of a conditional license. Because the ignition interlock program is working in Florida, MADD and lawmakers opposed to the switch see the need to plan for an expanded use of ignition interlock devices, not a switch to twice daily breath tests using breathalyzers which may not prevent an offender from getting behind the wheel after drinking.