Do Interlock Devices Record BAC?

If you were convicted of DUI, or refused to take a breath test when you were pulled over, you may now find yourself in need of an ignition interlock device (IID). If you’re eligible for your state’s interlock restricted driving program, you have a lot of questions. A big one we hear is “do interlock devices record BAC?” The short answer to that question is yes.

Your ignition interlock device is designed to prevent you from starting your car when you’ve been drinking. Basically, it’s an in-car breathalyzer that is connected to your vehicle’s electrical system. Each time you want to start the car, you must blow into the mouthpiece to give a breath sample. The IID then analyzes the sample for alcohol. If you pass the test, you can start the car like you normally would.

If the device detects a breath alcohol content (BAC) below the preset limit (generally .02-.025), it may give you a warning, but still let you start the car, since you didn’t actually fail the test. If the device detects a BAC at or above the present limit, you fail the test, and the interlock device locks you out. In most states, you can try again in a few minutes.

Keep in mind that you can have a BAC of .02 after consuming one alcoholic beverage.

What Your Ignition Interlock Device Records

So each time you give a breath sample for a startup test or a rolling retest, your ignition interlock device records a number of things, including:

  • The date and time you gave the breath sample
  • Your location at the time of the test, if the device is GPS equipped
  • Your picture each time you give a breath sample, if the device is camera-equipped
  • Whether this was a startup test or rolling retest
  • If you passed or failed the test, or if you got a warning
  • If you skipped a rolling retest
  • If you tried to keep driving after you failed a rolling retest
  • If you tried to have someone else give a breath sample
  • If you tried to tamper with or remove the device
  • If you failed to appear at a service visit
  • If you don’t pay your service vendor
  • And more

All state-certified interlock devices must meet or exceed the national Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) model specifications for ignition interlock devices. This ensures your device will be precise and accurate. They must also be able to record all of this information accurately, and retain it.

Who Has Access to the Information the IID Records

Your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the court system, if you are on probation, have access to every bit of information your interlock device records. You can also ask for a printout of what the device has recorded.

All 50 states have ignition interlock laws, but they differ on when and how often the information needs to be provided to your monitoring authority. Some states require real-time access to the data. This means the moment you fail a test, the DMV is alerted. Many of these states that require real-time access also require the devices used in their states to be GPS-equipped. This is so that a police officer can find you if you just failed a rolling retest, for example.

Other states require ALCOLOCK and other interlock device vendors to report test failures and major program violations within one or two business days. If you have no major violations, then the information is gathered and transmitted once every 30-60 days, depending on your state’s program. Your technician takes care of this when you bring your vehicle in for regular service visits.

Program Violations and Penalties

Program violations are when you don’t follow the rules of your restricted driving program. We mentioned some of the violations above, but here’s a complete list:

  • Failing one or more startup tests
  • Failing a rolling retest
  • Trying to continue to drive after failing a rolling retest
  • Skipping a rolling retest
  • Trying to have someone else give a breath sample
  • Tampering with or trying to remove the device
  • Failing to show up for a service visit
  • Not paying your IID vendor
  • Failure to get the device installed in the first place
  • Driving a vehicle that is not equipped with an IID (unless you have a work vehicle exception)
  • Being charged with another DUI
  • Driving at times or to locations that are prohibited by your program
  • Any other violations that are spelled out in your program

You can find a full list of your state’s program violations, and the associated penalties, in your paperwork, as well as on the DMV or DOT website.

Penalties will differ from state to state, depending on your original offense. Penalties are more severe if you are a repeat offender, but can include:

  • Extension of the time you are required to have the IID installed
  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Revocation of probation
  • And more

So since interlock devices record just about everything, and there are some pretty stiff penalties for breaking the rules, it is in your best interests to comply with the restricted driving program. In that way, you can complete it as quickly as possible, and get your full driving privileges back.

Schedule Your Interlock Device Installation

If you need to get an ignition interlock device installed, ALCOLOCK is ready to help. We offer fast and affordable installation at service centers around the country. Just call the service location nearest you to set up your IID installation. You can also call ALCOLOCK directly at (866) 700-9300.

Remember, you will need to have someone drive you to your appointment. You can drive once the device is installed. Your installation appointment will last about an hour. That time includes the technician installing the IID in your vehicle, calibrating it, showing you how to use it, and explaining what all of the sounds, lights, and screen messages mean. Lastly, before you go, you will schedule your first service visit. Those take about 20 minutes.

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