Monitech

Category: General Information

american-drunk-drivers

How many American drunk drivers are there? It’s a tricky question to answer, since we usually hear only about the ones who are arrested. There are many more who don’t make it into the news, even though they are guilty of the same crime.

The Centers of Disease Control did a survey to find out how many adults admitted to driving drunk during a given month. The answer was chilling: an estimated 4.2 million adults said they had driven while impaired by alcohol.  Multiply that by 12, and you get 121 million episodes of drunk driving each year.

That doesn’t give us the number of people who drive drunk – many of those episodes will be repeats by the same drivers. A more conservative, but still chilling, estimate was proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in a survey they did. They found that 8 percent of drivers, or 17 million Americans, admitted to driving under the influence that year (2008).

Country of the Drunk Drivers

If all American drunk drivers – those who admitted to NHTSA that they drove impaired – were given their own country to live in, what would it look like? For one thing, the population would larger than quite a few countries, among them Belgium, Greece, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Portugal, and Sweden.

It would not only be large, it would be dangerous. On any particular day, 46,500 people would be driving drunk. That would make for some pretty hairy driving unless the country had a very large land mass and low density – something like Greenland.

The country would not be a dating paradise for men, as the population would be two-thirds male. It would be a young country, though: 33 percent of residents would be under 35, and half would be 44 or under.

Here’s the strange thing: about 80 percent of females and three-quarters of males in that fully-drunk-driving population thought that driving under the influence was a threat to their safety and the safety of others. That didn’t stop them from doing it, apparently.

And why do fewer males believe that drunk driving is dangerous? What kind of fake news are they consuming in that place?

Of course, there is no country of drunk drivers – those 17 million people are scattered all over the United States. Most of them get away with their crime – at least for a while – but a still-staggering number cause injury and death, and still more are arrested before they have a chance to do harm. We have to deal with them in our country, by catching them, punishing them, preventing further offenses with ignition interlocks, and when possible, by educating them to choose alternatives like designated drivers.

But the best thing we can all do for the Country of Drunk Drivers is not to visit it – ever.

ignition-interlocks-on-motorcycles-nc

Ignition interlock providers in every state get calls regularly asking, “Can I put an interlock device on my motorcycle?” In most states the answer is no, but North Carolina bikers can install ignition interlocks on motorcycles and keep moving on two wheels. Here’s what you need to know

Yes, You Must Install One On Your Bike

If you have an ignition interlock requirement in North Carolina, the mandate applies to all vehicles registered to you. So if you have, say, a car and a motorcycle registered in your name, you must put an interlock on both if you intend to use both. The alternative, if you wish to give up riding for the duration of your interlock period, would be to de-register the bike.

Take note: if you register the bike in someone else’s name – a spouse, say – you still cannot ride it unless there is an interlock on the bike. In North Carolina an ignition interlock restriction applies to any vehicle you drive.

Rule One: Pull Over for Re-Tests

The demands of motorcycle riding are unique, and you need to make some accommodations if you have an interlock on your bike. Most important: when you get a signal that it’s time for a re-test, you must pull over to perform the test. This is a vital safety precaution, and is non-negotiable. In a car it’s a simple matter to take a breath test while driving. You can keep a hand on the wheel and your eyes on the road. But motorcycles demand two-handed control, so there are no rolling re-tests, as in a car: it must be a side-of-the-road re-test.

Weather and Your Ignition Interlock

As a motorcyclist, you’re more aware than most of the weather. Ignition interlock devices are durable, but they’re not weatherproof. If you leave your bike outside, your device can get exposed to the elements. This could cause problems with your device. Always remember to bring your handset inside when you park your bike in the open air.

Happy Riding

Ignition interlocks are designed to enable driving, not restrict it. At Monitech we’re dedicated to keeping you on the beautiful roads of North Carolina, while making those roads safer for everyone. To everybody in the state with ignition interlocks on motorcycles: we wish you happy and safe riding. To learn more about ignition interlocks in North Carolina, call Monitech at 800-521-4246. The roads are out there, waiting for you.

North-Carolina-Ignition-Interlock-Questions

For most people, getting an ignition interlock is a new experience. Chances are, if you’re required to install an interlock in North Carolina, you’ve got some questions. You’ll find a lot of answers at the Monitech website. But sometimes some pretty specific questions come up, and it’s worth repeating them. Here are some of questions we hear from prospective customers:

Can I install an ignition interlock on a motorcycle? Yes! North Carolina is one of a very few states that permit ignition interlocks on motorcycles.

Can someone else take my vehicle in to install the interlock? No. If you’re the one with the ignition interlock requirement, you need to be present for the installation.

Do I need to be the registered owner of the vehicle to get an ignition interlock put in? No. You can have it installed in someone else’s vehicle (say, a spouse or parent) as long as the third party signs a form agreeing to it. Monitech will provide you with the form.

If it’s really cold, can I disconnect the handset and bring it inside at night? If it’s a Monitech handset, the answer is Yes – they are detachable. It’s a good idea because extreme cold can cause a delay in starting.

I lease my vehicle. Can I install an ignition interlock on it? Yes. You’ll want to notify the leasing company, but it’s fine with us.

I’m under 21. Can I get an ignition interlock? Yes. If you legally drive a vehicle, we can put an interlock on it.

I drive a commercial vehicle. Can an ignition interlock be installed on it? Yes. If you drive for an employer, you should notify them first.

Got more questions? Give us a call.

If you have any other questions about using or installing an ignition interlock in North Carolina, give Monitech a call at 800-521-4246. We’ll get you on the road quickly.

prom-night-drinking

Let’s ditch the suspense: the answer is no. Prom night might be a few weeks off, and perhaps you were thinking of having a heart-to-heart with your teen right before he or she heads off to the prom. You were going to issue a warning about prom night drinking, and especially, drinking and driving.

If you want to find out why you should be worrying about prom night drinking, ask a patrol cop. They’ll tell you stories about what they’ve encountered in the wee hours during prom season. Those stories include fights, date rape, alcohol poisoning, and, of course, drunk driving.

Why Teens Insist On Drinking

Many teens drink because it’s fun. It’s an adventure, a way of gaining status in a peer group. Prom night adds another factor: it’s a rite of passage. It’s something that happens only once, and it’s held as significant both by teens themselves, the school, and parents. The dance and parties afterwards are mirrors of adulthood, one of the first social experiences they have that resembles what goes on in the adult world. For many students, making the most of that rite of passage includes getting drunk.

Why Prom Night is Too Late

If your plan is to talk to your teen about prom night drinking at 6pm, before he or she takes off, dressed to the nines, remember this: your teen has been planning the night for a while. Somebody has been planning on scoring some booze, and someone has figured out a place go to drink away from the gaze of adults. With all that pre-arranged, a last-minute warning to abstain won’t hold much sway.

Now Is the Time

Talk now. If you need some topics, consider these:

  • It’s more than just drunk driving – being drunk is an invitation to various kinds of harm.
  • It’s not just “don’t drink and drive.” It’s “don’t drink and drive, don’t ever get into a vehicle driven by someone who’s been drinking, and do what you can to prevent that person from driving. If you can’t, call the police. This is non-negotiable.
  • Alcohol poisoning is a major hazard. You need to be emphatic that drinking competitions and beer bongs lead to the emergency room.
  • Even if they’re not the type to drink, they need to be wary of spiked punch bowls and drinks. Tell them if they leave their drink somewhere, to get a fresh one.
  • Let them know you are available to drive them, or will call a taxi for them, no questions asked.
  • If you’re still stuck for what to say, there’s a lot of information online to help you.

Even if your teen gets what you’re saying, chances are someone in his or her group is making plans that could put some kids in danger. The better – and sooner – you can connect with your teens the more likely they’ll make the right decisions on prom night.

st-patricks-day-ireland

St. Patrick’s Day is popular with Americans, even those who have not a drop if Irish in their blood. The day is an excuse to wear green, sip green beer, dig up some Sligo fiddle tunes and even nibble some corned beef and cabbage. It’s not the cabbage that causes trouble, though: it’s the beer. The holiday is infamous for drinking, and worse, drinking and driving.

This might be a good time to inform revelers that Ireland itself is not a hospitable place for drunk drivers. Unlike the US, with its comparatively high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08, Ireland prosecutes anyone with a level of .05 or more for impaired driving. The usual punishment is a 2-year driving ban and a fine of 1,500 Euros.

Americans sometimes see Ireland as a nation of enthusiastic drinkers, with their Guinness and their Irish whiskey. But getting hammered and driving is not a fitting tribute to the Irish. They know better – hence their strict laws – and you should too.

This St. Patrick’s Day, make a plan. Line up a designated driver beforehand, or leave the car keys at home and take a taxi to wherever you’re celebrating. And don’t let any of your friends drive drunk either.

This March 17th, do like the Irish and show your friends a good time. But leave the wheels at home.

3-arizona-dui-charges-shirts

While a number of Arizona’s road safety laws could use some improvement, it’s well known that the state’s drunk driving laws are fine specimens that other states should imitate. One of the ways in which Arizona deals with the problem of impaired drivers is to put some thought into classification: not all drunk driving crimes are created equal.

Arizona police can charge you with one of 3 types of DUI, depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Standard DUI

If your BAC is at least .08 but below .15, you will face a standard DUI charge. This is a serious crime whose penalties include jail time and fines of around $1,500 for a first offense and more than twice that for a repeat offense. An ignition interlock is required for all DUIs in Arizona as well.

Extreme DUI

If you are arrested with a BAC of between .15 and .19 – a very serious level of impairment which makes the driver a lethal hazard on the road – you will be charged with Extreme DUI. In this case you could be imprisoned for a month and pay over $3,000 in fines plus other fees and costs – and that is only if it’s a first offense. In addition, you will have an ignition interlock for 18 months. If the extreme DUI is a repeat offense, expect to spend up to 6 months in jail and pay fines exceeding $3,700.

Super Extreme DUI

This charge is somewhat rare among US state laws. If you are arrested and your blood alcohol test reveals a concentration of above .20 – two and a half times the legal intoxication limit – you are in serious trouble. Jail time is 45 days, though home detention is a possibility after a few days. For repeat offenses, the jail sentence can be 6 months, with fines of about $4,600 plus other costs.

Screening for alcohol abuse problems and, if applicable, treatment is also a requirement for all of these offenses. For most of them, a community service requirement is also part of the package.

Why BAC?

There are a number of ways to judge the severity of a drunk driving offense. One is whether or not the driver caused property damage or injury. Another is whether a minor was put in danger. In fact, aggravating circumstances like those will have an effect on the sentencing as well.

But blood alcohol concentration is the primary gauge of DUI because the worse the impairment, the more likely that someone will come to harm. Statistics back that up, and Arizona is right to bump up penalties for high-BAC DUIs.

All drunk driving, however, is a crime, and enough people are killed and injured by people with a BAC in the low range that those offenses need to be taken seriously as well.

Over the ten years between 2007 and 2016, alcohol-related crashes in Arizona have gone from almost 8,000 per year to less than 5,000. Deaths have been lowered from 397 to 302, and injuries from 5,532 to 3,324. That’s a testament to Arizona’s determination to fight drunk driving with strong laws – including an all-offender ignition interlock law and extra penalties for extreme and super-extreme DUIs.

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