A new law will allow a person who has as many as four DUI convictions to regain their right to drive, but it also includes the requirement that an ignition interlock system be installed on the vehicle. The ignition interlock prevents the car from starting if the person attempting to drive has alcohol on their breath.
While the law will allow a person with four DUI convictions to get their license back, even anti-drunk driving organizations generally find this better than simply revoking the license, because the ignition interlock allows monitoring, and it is hoped, a means to control repeat offenders.
Many people who lose their license after receiving a DUI, probably keep driving. Given the necessity of driving for most people in Florida, even those who have lost their license frequently drive. In addition, they may continue to engage in risky behavior, like drinking while they are driving.
Monitoring those with a history drunk driving is a better solution than outright prohibition, which may leave a convicted driver feeling they have no choice but to drive without a license. With the use of an ignition interlock, Florida can prevent them from driving when they are intoxicated and potentially injuring themselves or other drivers.
The ignition interlock functions similar to the breath test law enforcement administers when they stop someone for a suspected DUI. The unit installs on the ignition of the vehicle and controls whether or not the starter will engage. They must blow into a tube that samples their breath and calculates their blood alcohol content. If the percent is above a preset limit, the car will not start.
The device also requires the driver to supply additional breath samples while the vehicle is in motion. This is to prevent a drunk driver from having a sober friend supply the initial breath sample. For safety reasons, the ignition interlock does not 'kill' the engine while the car is moving, but calls attention to the driver, forcing them to pull over. If the system detects the presence of alcohol on the breath, it causes the car's horn to honk and the lights to flash until the vehicle is safely stopped.
It is hoped the new system of supervision will permit better control of repeat drunk drivers, allowing them to maintain their driving privileges and the ability to earn a living, while preventing them from reoffending.