What Every Driver Should Expect When Installing a Car Breathalyzer

car breathalyzerA DUI conviction is a life-changing event for everyone involved. This is especially true for repeat offenders. The court appearances and steep fines are a major part of being convicted with a DUI; in addition, the courts typically require repeat offenders to install a breathalyzer device in their cars to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) while on the road.

Currently, about 150,000 car breathalyzers have been installed in cars across the country. Planning on installing an ignition interlock device — or car breathalyzer — in your vehicle? Be ready for these three things:

How they work
Ignition interlocks prevent drunk drivers from heading out on the road by detecting one’s BAC and locking the car’s ignition if it exceeds the legal BAC limit. Studies have shown that these devices reduce the number of repeat DUI charges by about 39% — and this is true even after the driver has their ignition interlock device removed.

Meeting state and local regulations
Did you know that all car breathalyzers are required to follow both state and regulations for BAC? If your breathalyzer detects that your BAC exceeds the limit, the ignition interlock will lock your vehicle for a certain amount of time. You’ll have to re-take the breathalyzer test after this time period passes until your BAC drops below the legal limit. And remember: in a number of states, it’s possible to be arrested and even convicted of DUI even if your BAC is below 0.08.

The rolling retest
A common feature of interlock devices is the rolling retest, which requires you to blow into your car breathalyzer anywhere from five to 15 minutes after starting the car. The rolling retest will then occur at random points throughout the rest of the trip, as well. If you fail the rolling retest, your car will either sound its alarm or its horn and lights will begin to flash on and off. The only way to turn either of these off is to pull over. Once you’ve pulled over, you’ll only be able to re-start your engine once you can pass the breathalyzer test again.

Getting a breathalyzer installed in your car is one of the best ways to prevent another DUI from taking place. For more information about these devices, contact us today.

Ignition Interlock Laws Help Stop Drunk Driving Before it Starts

ignition interlock deviceIt’s no secret that ignition interlock devices are an effective method to prevent repeat-offense drunk drivers. In fact, arrest rates are often reduced by 70% after interlock devices are installed. However, new research suggests that the mere threat of having to install a car breathalyzer after a first-time DUI offense may be enough to deter impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel of a car in the first place. [Read more…]

FAQ: Choosing and Installing an Interlock Device

interlockAcross the country, ignition interlock devices have proven to be one of the most effective strategies for reducing instances of repeat-offense drunk driving. In fact, studies have shown that drivers who have had an interlock installed in their vehicles reduce the risk of another DUI by 39% compared to offenders who never had an interlock device installed at all.

If you have been required to install a car breathalyzer, however, chances are that you have some questions about how the device works and how it will be installed. You may have even heard rumors about these devices. To bring you up to speed, here’s a quick guide to some of the most common questions throughout the process.

  1. How do I get an interlock device installed?
    You need to contact an authorized ignition interlock dealer to have the device properly installed in your vehicle. The process usually takes about 60 to 90 minutes, during which time the installer will go over the details of how to use it. You need to be present for the installation and notify the Motor Vehicle Division once the process is complete. In virtually all cases, the driver will have to pay for the device and installation.
  2. Are there significant differences between interlock dealers and products?
    Absolutely. Various interlock models may be more or less discreet, transportable, or heat-resistant. Living in Arizona, it’s especially important to find a model that can withstand hot temperatures while inside your car. Since you also need to conduct your monitoring appointments with the company you choose, it’s important to find one that will accommodate your schedule.
  3. Do I have to own the car in order to have the device installed?
    No. If the vehicle you drive is registered under someone else’s name, you simply need a notarized letter of permission from the owner to have an interlock device installed.
  4. What happens when I need to take my car in for repairs or service?
    QuickStart AZ’s interlock devices come equipped with a mechanics code that allows technicians to disable the device while conducting service or repairs on your vehicle. This is important both to make sure that the device does not record false evidence or tampering, and so that you don’t have to wait around to blow into the device so that your car will turn on.

Making an informed decision about your ignition interlock device will help make the process much smoother. So take the time to do your research and know what to expect about the installation process and the kinds of devices and services available to suit your needs.

Holiday Road Safety: Tips and Reminders from Arizona Officials

car breathalyzer pricesThe holiday season is officially in full swing, which means it’s time to celebrate. But as always, it’s important to remember to stay safe and drive sober.

The Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is hoping to reinforce that message this year with the help of local police squads across the state. Their annual holiday DUI enforcement and sober designated-driver campaign started at the beginning of December and provided some helpful advice and reminders.

“Always use a designated driver. Call a cab, call an Uber, call a Lyft,” if you’re incapable of driving home, said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

“And all I would ask is something very simple: Let’s make it socially unacceptable to be impaired and operate a motor vehicle,” added Arizona Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski.

If there’s one thing you don’t want to add to your holiday wishlist, it’s a permanent DUI record. AAA in Arizona estimates that even a first-time DUI offense can cost you up to $10,000 in fines, penalties, and legal fees, not to mention increased insurance rates and car breathalyzer prices. In all, alcohol-related car accidents are said to cost $59 billion in the U.S. every year.

While ignition interlock devices can help greatly reduce the number of repeat offenses for drunk driving, the best solution is not to get behind the wheel of a car while you’re impaired in the first place. To that end, AAA’s “Tipsy Tow” service will be returning to Arizona for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The service offers free towing up to 10 miles for drivers who need a hand getting home safely after a night out.

“If you are planning to partake in drinking,” said Stephanie Moe, corporate responsibility supervisor for AAA Arizona, “be sure you have a plan to get home safe. If that plan falls through, AAA’s Tipsy Tow is there if you need it.”

While the cost of a taxi or a tow certainly beats car breathalyzer prices, what’s most important is making sure that everyone traveling by road can have a safe and happy holiday season. Plan ahead for your celebrations and remember not to drink and drive.

If you don’t, you could end up with no choice but to install ignition interlock devices in your cars — if you’re lucky.

Maryland Lawmakers Look to Expand the Use of Interlock Devices Beyond DUI Convictions

interlock deviceEarlier this month, Maryland lawmakers expanded the rules of ignition interlock devices, requiring even first-time offenders convicted of a DUI to have a car breathalyzer installed in their vehicles. If a driver’s blood alcohol concentration registers too high, the ignition interlock will prevent the car from turning on.

Interlock device laws such as these are common, though they vary from state to state. Some only require them after repeat offenses or after a particularly egregious offense, though some — like Maryland — now require them after even one DUI.

Maryland named the new bill “Noah’s Law,” after a Montgomery County police officer who was killed by a drunk driver while operating a routine DUI checkpoint in Rockville, Maryland. Some lawmakers, however, including the prosecutor who first championed Noah’s Law, are calling for even more drastic interlock device measures to prevent alcohol-related offenses.

John McCarthy, the Montgomery County state attorney in Maryland, is pushing for additional measures that would require ignition interlock devices to be installed in the cars of people who circumvent DUI conviction through “probation before judgment,” or PBJ, dispositions. In these cases, the accused pleads guilty and agrees to probation in order to avoid charges that could result in a final conviction.

“I will tell you, in my county — and a lot of others — first offenders pretty routinely get PBJs,” McCarthy said, but Noah’s Law does not require ignition interlocks for PBJs — yet. He firmly believes that more interlock devices in cars will reduce casualties on the road.

“This thing actually saves lives,” McCarthy said.

Furthermore, there’s scientific evidence to back up those claims. A previous study by the University of Michigan suggests that putting ignition interlocks into every vehicle in America — DUI or not — could reduce alcohol-related road fatalities by 85% over the next 15 years.

The study also suggests that the financial benefits of mandatory interlock devices would outweigh the initial installation costs in just three years. Should car breathalyzers ever become universal, they would likely be set at a BAC limit much lower than the legal 0.08, more likely around 0.03 or 0.04.

McCarthy also believes that widespread interlock use could cut down on other alcohol-related offenses, such as domestic abuse or violence. But for now, his agenda remains focused on how to make drunk driving a thing of the past.

Help! I Failed My Car Breathalyzer, But I Haven’t Been Drinking

car breathalyzerIf you have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, chances are you already know that it will prevent you from turning on the engine if the car breathalyzer detects a blood alcohol content above a certain prescribed level. Usually, this level is set much lower than the legal driving limit of 0.08, often around 0.02.

These low levels are incredibly important for driver safety and preventing recurring drunk driving incidents, and they’re shown to be effective in reducing dangerous activity on the road. However, this doesn’t mean that those low numbers are fail proof.

Occasionally, drivers may find that they fail the breathalyzer test in the morning or throughout the day — even if they haven’t been drinking. There are a few possible reasons why this might be the case and simple steps to avoid any inconvenience this might cause.

  • Mouthwash: Some antiseptic mouthwashes contain alcohol. If it’s left lingering in your mouth, the breathalyzer could pick up on that alcohol content and mistake it for a BAC. Avoid using mouthwashes directly before entering your car, or simply wait a few minutes and try again.
  • Fermenting foods: Quick-acting carbohydrates, such as fruit juices and white breads, can mix with your stomach acid and produce a kind of fermentation in your gut. This, too, might register in your breath and cause the interlock device to register a high BAC level. Rinse out your mouth and drink plenty of water with meals to avoid this problem.
  • Residual alcohol: If it’s early in the morning and you were out drinking the night before, your BAC level could still be over the car breathalyzer limit. It’s important to give your body the full amount of time it needs to recover before operating a vehicle — so go sleep it off.

When you fail a breathalyzer test and your car won’t start, remember not to panic. You can always try again in a few minutes, but repeated failures may lock out your ignition completely. Stay aware and stay safe by paying attention to your body and your breathalyzer.

Arizona #1 for DUI Enforcement, California Could Soon See Mandatory Interlock Devices for Repeat Offenders

interlock deviceA new bill that could require all DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices (IID) installed on their vehicle has been sent to California governor Jerry Brown.

According to Patch.com, in late August, SB 1046, the bill enforcing car breathalyzers on DUI offenders’ vehicles has been sent to Gov. Brown’s desk. If he signs off on the bill, it would go into effect in January of 2019 and would change the ways DUI are enforced in the state.

  • A first-time DUI offender whose accident involved an injury would require the installation of an IID for at least six months.
  • A first-time DUI offense that did not involve any injury would get the choice of either a six-month IID requirement with full driving privileges, or a one-year restricted license that would allow only driving to and from work.
  • A second DUI offender would be forced to use a IID for at least one year.
  • A three-time DUI offender would be forced to have an IID installed for at least two years.
  • A driver who receives four or more DUI offenses will face an IID requirement for at least three years.

“It’s been tested, studied, and proven,” said Senator Jerry Hill. “Use of ignition interlock devices saves lives.”

Every day in the U.S., 28 people lose their lives at the hands of a drunk driver. Installing these devices in the vehicles of those convicted of DUIs should significantly cut down on repeat offenders, who tend to drunk drive the most.

A recent study by WalletHub found that Arizona is the strictest state in the entire country when it comes to DUI rules and enforcement. The Daily Wildcat reports that Arizona was ranked number one in criminal penalties for DUI and number two in prevention, with an overall rank of number one as the strictest state for DUI enforcement.

Part of Arizona’s success against drunk drivers is to target college students and other young adults who might not be as aware of the dangers of drunk driving.

“I think the improvement would come from students themselves, where friends don’t let friends drive,” said Lynn Reyes, an alcohol and drug prevention specialist with Campus Health. “I hear a lot of students say they take away a friend’s keys and won’t let them drive or they help them to get home. I think that will make a difference.”

If you want to learn more about ignition interlock devices in Arizona, contact QuickStart Ignition today.

Tucson Bars Sued Over DUI-Related Deaths

ignition interlockAfter spending the evening at two different bars on Tucson’s Fourth Avenue last year, 27-year-old Jesus Olea got behind the wheel of a car with a 0.18 blood alcohol content level, more than twice the legal limit. Soon, he crashed the vehicle into a tree — killing all three passengers riding with him, including the unborn child of one pregnant woman.

Now, the families of the victims are suing the two bars that Olea patronized before the accident: O’Malleys at 247 N. Fourth Avenue and Che’s Lounge, across the street at 350 N. Fourth. The families claim the bars were negligent in “failing to exercise reasonable care in the sale of alcohol.”

Each day in the United States, 28 people die due to drunk driving incidents, and these tragedies are all too familiar. While bars and other drinking establishments should no doubt be held partly responsible for the customers they serve, it’s hard to say whether the staff could have known Olea was about to get behind the wheel of a car after leaving. Still, there’s a simple way to stop DUI accidents from ruining even more lives.

If ignition interlock devices were required in all vehicles, could this tragedy have been prevented? For better or worse, these life-saving devices are usually only installed after a judge orders a DUI suspect to do so. These discreet breathalyzers require drivers to do a BAC test before the engine even starts, and often drivers must continue to blow periodically as they drive. If the device registers above a certain pre-set level — in most cases where ignition interlocks are required by law for DUI offenders, that’s a BAC of 0.02 — then the car will not turn on.

The same would hold true if ignition interlock devices were required in every car across America. The levels would likely be set around 0.03 or 0.04, well below the legal 0.08 limit, as different people handle alcohol differently. However, in many states you can still be arrested for a drunk driving offense even with a BAC well under 0.08.

Meanwhile, Jesus Olea has been charged with four counts of felony manslaughter and two felony DUIs. He is scheduled to appear in court this August. The families of the victims will seek repatriation from the drinking establishments in Tucson for their alleged neglect, including award damages, attorney fees, and punitive damages.

Perhaps the most tragic part of DUI-related deaths is knowing how easily they could have been avoided.

Everything You Need to Know About Interlock Devices in Arizona

interlock deviceEvery state in the country has varying laws when it comes to the use of ignition interlock devices and car breathalyzers after a DUI conviction. There are more than 150,000 cars already equipped with interlock devices in the U.S. today, mostly for drivers with multiple DUI convictions — but in Arizona, you may be required to have one installed after just one offense.

Learn more about Arizona’s DUI and interlock device policies here.

When and Why is a License Suspended for a DUI?
In Arizona, your license will be immediately suspended if you fail a breathalyzer test with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or higher, or if you refuse to take a breath test at the scene. You will be given a 15-day grace period to put your affairs in order or challenge the suspension.

After the 15 days, or when sentenced by a judge, you license will be suspended for a set allotment of time.

How Long Will My License be Suspended?
This depends on the type of DUI offense and any previous convictions. First-time offenders will likely have a 90-day suspension period while second-timers get one year and third-timers will be suspended for three years.

Note that in any situation, an extreme DUI with a BAC of .15 or higher will likely result in your license being revokedrather than suspended, meaning all driving privileges are terminated.

How Do I Get My Driving Privileges Back?
You can apply for a restricted license after your original license has been suspended or revoked. In most cases with DUI convictions, this will require the installation and use of an ignition interlock device in order to operate your vehicle. This is a car breathalyzer system that you must use before you can start the engine. If the device registers above a .02 BAC, it will not turn on.

Arizona has some of the strictest regulations concerning DUIs and interlock cups in the nation, but these measures are ultimately effective. Installation of interlock devices has been shown to reduce arrest rates for impaired driving by as much as 70%. Better yet, it will help you get back on the road quickly and safely.

Ignition Interlock Laws Spread Across the Nation

ignition interlockRoughly half of all U.S. states today have legislation requiring first-time DUI offenders to obtain ignition interlock devices for their cars, Arizona included. New to the list is Pennsylvania, which just passed a new law requiring drunken drivers with a first-time conviction and a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 or greater to use a car breathalyzer for at least a year after regaining their license.

Before, Pennsylvania only required interlock cups for repeat-offense drunk drivers. However, the new law is still not as strict as Arizona’s, which requires every driver with a 0.08 BAC or higher get a mandatory ignition interlock, even on a first offense.

“Drunk driving is a deadly crime that puts Pennsylvania families at risk, and this legislation will help prevent people from driving drunk and endangering themselves and putting other lives at risk,” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said after signing the bill into law. “We owe it to both motorists and pedestrians to keep them safe and hold people who break DUI laws accountable.”

Right now, there are already about 150,000 cars with ignition interlock systems installed across the country in an attempt to stem the spread of repeat-offense drunk drivers. There’s not much they can do, though, about first-time offenses if ignition interlock devices are only installed in cars after an offense.

Should ignition interlock devices simply become standard equipment in all cars? If they do, their sensor limits will likely be set well below the legal 0.08 BAC level — probably at 0.03 or 0.04 — because people vary so much in their tolerance. In fact, you can still be arrested and convicted of a DUI charge even with a blood alcohol concentration level below the 0.08 limit.

Every state in the U.S. has some kind of law in place regarding the use of interlock devices, but they vary in terms of length requirements, number of convictions, and BAC levels. Many advocates, including Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, are pushing for more stringent and uniform legislation across the country.

If you find yourself facing a DUI conviction in Arizona, chances are you’ll need a car breathalyzer. Talk with a certified and licensed installer to learn more about affordable ignition interlock device solutions.

Quickstart Interlock2175 E. 5th Street
Tempe, AZ 85281
888-717-8278