In the 1990’s lawmakers in Florida passed legislation to include installation of the “ignition interlock device” on vehicles owned or operated by drivers convicted of certain DUI charges.
The ignition interlock device passed by the Florida legislature is similar to those used in 41 other states, as well as the District of Columbia and Canada.
This “mini breath test”, about the size of a radar detector, is wired into the ignition system of the vehicle, and is designed to prevent the automobile from starting if the breath test result is .05 or higher. The interlock device currently being used in Florida also requires that the driver periodically blow into the machine while driving, to insure that the driver is not consuming alcohol after starting the engine. While driving, the machine will at random intervals require breath samples while the automobile is being operated. If the machine detects a blood alcohol level of greater than .05, the engine stops.
Florida law now makes it a mandatory requirement at the sentencing hearing to include the installation of the ignition interlock device for any driver whose breath test is above .15. Installation is also mandatory where the driver has ever been previously convicted of a DUI offense, regardless of when the prior offense occurred. The judge can, however, require any driver convicted of even a first offense DUI have the device installed.
A driver who fails to install the interlock device after being ordered by the Judge will have his or her driving privileges suspended indefinitely by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The driver will never be able to reinstate his or her license until compliance can be established. In addition, a conviction for driving without the device will result in an additional one year driver’s license suspension for a first offense, and five years for a second violation of the restriction.