How Long Does a Lockout Last on an Ignition Interlock Device?

If you’re getting an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, it’s important to learn everything you can about the device. You may be wondering how long a lockout lasts on an ignition interlock device. That really depends on the state you live in. For specifics, you can check with your local service provider, your user’s manual, and your state DMV/DOT website.

Each state follows the model specifications for ignition interlock devices laid out by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). But while the NHTSA lays out specifics for what the devices need to be able to do and how they work, it leaves the specifics of program rules are to the states. All 50 states and Washington DC have ignition interlock laws that specify who must install an ignition interlock device, how long they must have it installed, and what the specific rules are for the state restricted driving program.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll talk in general terms.

Temporary Lockout

You know by now how an ignition interlock device works. You blow into the device each time you want to start your car. If the device detects alcohol at or above the prohibited level (.02 or .025 in most cases) the device enters a temporary lockout. That is, it prevents you from starting the car.

In most states, you must wait a predetermined number of minutes before the device unlocks and allows you to try and give a clean breath sample. If you give a clean sample, you can start the vehicle and be on your way. If you fail the breath test a second time, the device will again enter lockout mode. This time, you may well be locked out for a longer period of time than the first temporary lockout.

Depending on your state, you may be allowed to try a third time to give a clean breath sample, but that may be hours after the first two failed tests. If you fail the test a third time within a specified interval, the device may enter permanent lockout (also known as a service lockout.)

Permanent Lockout AKA Service Lockout

A permanent, or service, lockout lasts more than a few minutes. It is a permanent lockout, meaning you can’t continue to try and start the car. The only way to resolve the situation is to call for a service appointment. You may need to have the vehicle towed to your service center, or if your state allows it, the technician can unlock the device remotely.

Either way, the lockout period lasts until you take the vehicle in for service. If you don’t take the vehicle in for service right away, you may risk getting kicked out of your state’s restricted driving program.

Reasons You May Go Into Permanent Lockout

There are several reasons the device may go into permanent lockout or service lockout mode. These include:

  • Failing a specified number of startup tests in a certain time period
  • Failing a rolling retest
  • Skipping a rolling retest
  • Missing or skipping a mandated service visit
  • Trying to tamper with or remove the device

Entering permanent lockout/service lockout is much more serious and inconvenient than entering a temporary lockout. But avoiding lockout mode altogether is your best bet for a smooth restricted driving program.

Don’t attempt to drink and drive, and follow your program rules, and you should be able to complete your restricted driving program without any extensions, fines, or other penalties.

Schedule Ignition Interlock Device Installation

Scheduling your ignition interlock device installation with ALCOLOCK is easy. We have ignition interlock installation locations across the country. Simply call the service center nearest you to schedule an installation appointment, or call ALCOLOCK at (866) 700-9300.

Make sure you have your DMV/DOT paperwork with you when you call, to help us confirm your eligibility for your state’s restricted driving program. In most cases, we can schedule your installation within 48 hours of your call.

What to Expect at Your Installation Appointment

You should plan to have someone drive you to your appointment, as you cannot drive your vehicle until after the device is installed. The entire appointment will take about an hour. During that time the technician will connect the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) to your vehicle’s starter. They will also calibrate the handheld device to you, specifically, and train you in how to use it. You will get a user’s manual to keep with you for the duration of your restricted driving program.

If someone else will be driving your car while you have the IID installed, bring them with you to your appointment, so they can learn how to use the device as well.

Lastly, the technician will make an appointment for your first service visit. The device will send you reminders of this visit a few days in advance. If you need to reschedule the visit, call your Service Center right away.

At ALCOLOCK, our goal is to get you back on the road quickly. We look forward to working with you!

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