Drunk drivers beware: Smart Start and Paragon Innovations enhancing SSI-1000 breath alcohol analyzer

7/26/2002 - Drunk driving kills thousands each year and costs the public billions. To help prevent these tragedies, Paragon Innovations Inc. was enlisted by Smart Start Inc. to develop the next-generation SSI-1000 Ignition Interlock. The handheld device – which prevents repeat DWI/DUI offenders from driving while intoxicated – both complies with expanded state regulations and increases resistance to tampering and circumvention.

Plano, Texas-based Paragon Innovations delivers national firmware design services for companies in the high-tech, medical, oil and gas and telecom sectors, among others. Irving, Texas-based Smart Start provides services and technologies that separate drinking from driving.

“We wanted to create a more robust, tamper-resistant device,” said Jim Ballard, president of Smart Start. “Paragon was selected to develop the breathalyzer’s firmware because we had worked with them in the past and were impressed by the Paragon team’s knowledge, planning, documentation and follow-through.”

Statistics for Alcohol-Related Accidents
In 2001, 16,652 people died in alcohol-related accidents – 40 percent of all traffic fatalities – according to the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An estimated 512,510 others are injured yearly. These accidents, according to preliminary research, cost the public an estimated $114.7 billion annually.

SSI-1000 Features
Smart Start’s SSI-1000 Ignition Interlock is a small handheld device wired to a repeat offender’s vehicle ignition system. In order to start the ignition, the driver must blow into the hand-held apparatus, which uses fuel cell sensor technology to accurately test alcohol levels. The engine won’t start if the driver’s level of alcohol exceeds a preset level. The device can be programmed to prevent further testing after a set number of failed tests are reached.

Once a car starts, the device re-tests the driver while the vehicle operates. A computer chip in the SSI-1000 journals all test results, driving logs, disconnection and tampering for later review by the appropriate court authorities, probation officer or Judge. Additional features include voice tone, breath temperature, unlock codes and a digital LED display, among others.

Smart Start serves two clients: the user, who is ordered by the court to install, use and pay for the device; and the judicial system, which mandates and monitors its use. The ignition interlock device is available for lease at $64 per month. Initial installation cost is $70.

“By enhancing the existing Smart Start product, Paragon’s technology has helped prevent intoxicated drivers from endangering themselves and others,” said Mike Wilkinson, Paragon’s president and chief executive officer. “We’re proud to develop a solution that makes a difference.”

About Paragon Innovations Inc.
Paragon Innovations Inc., based in Plano, Texas, designs, develops and documents embedded systems in commercial and consumer technology products. Using a proven 22-step methodology, Paragon’s technology experts leverage more than a decade in rapid product development to deliver products such as miniaturized insulin pumps, semiconductor reference platforms and Internet appliances for companies in the Internet, medical, semiconductor, telephony, robotics and wireless industries, among others. Customers include 3M, AMD, Hitachi, Motorola and Ubicom/Scenix. Paragon is a privately held company that was founded in 1990 by founder and Chief Executive Officer Michael Wilkinson. The company is located in the heart of the Telecom Corridor®.

For more information, visit www.paragoninnovations.com, or contact Kay Pinkerton at (214) 521-8596, or via e-mail at kpinkerton@mbapr.com

About Smart Start Inc.
Smart Start, based in Irving, Texas, provides services and technologies that separate drinking from driving. Incorporated in 1992, Smart Start is the only fully integrated provider in the ignition interlock industry and is certified to operate in Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Arizona, Michigan, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Washington. The company serves two customers: the court-ordered defendant who uses and pays for the ignition interlock device, and the judicial system that mandates and monitors the defendant’s use of the device.

For more information, visit www.smartstartinc.com, or call 800-880-3394.

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