How Often Does an Interlock Device Go Off?

If you’re wondering “how often does an interlock device go off?” you or a loved one must have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed, or need to get one installed. And when you say “go off” we’re guessing you mean how often does the device make a sound or flash a message that you are supposed to submit to a rolling retest.

Once you have passed the startup test and started driving, you will be required to submit to random, rolling retests. All 50 states and Washington DC have ignition interlock laws and guidelines that spell out the parameters of your interlock program.

Each state has different rules for their interlock device programs. If you are required to have an interlock device installed after a DUI, you will receive paperwork that tells you what the program violations are, and what the penalties for program violations are. But one thing that paperwork won’t tell you is how often an interlock device will go off, or ask you to submit to a rolling retest.

Rolling Retests

Rolling retests, also known as running tests, are designed to be required at random times. The idea is to prevent you from attempting to drink and drive. While we can’t tell you how often an interlock device will go off, or beep/flash to alert you to the need to submit a new breath sample, we can tell you to expect the first one within ten minutes of starting the car. How often and at what frequency they happen after that is up to your state requirements, and the device itself. It will likely be several times an hour.

When your device alerts you through sounds, lights, or screen messages (or all 3) that it is time for a rolling retest, you have about 5 minutes to submit the breath sample. This gives you time to pull over or park if you want to. You can also give a breath sample while the car is moving. Just keep your eyes on the road. Many people think it is easier to use an IID while driving than it is to operate the GPS or select a radio station.

If you pass the rolling retest, nothing happens. You keep driving. If the device detects alcohol on your breath and you fail the retest, IT WILL NOT CUT YOUR ENGINE OFF. National Highway Transportation Administration model specifications for interlock devices prohibits this, and for good reason. But depending on your state requirements, a failed retest may signal your horn to start honking and your lights to start flashing. It’s important that you pull over and turn off the ignition if you fail a rolling retest.

If You Fail the Rolling Retest

If you fail the rolling retest, the device, of course, will record that. Once you turn off the ignition, you will enter a lockout period before you can submit another breath sample and attempt to start the car. If you genuinely haven’t been drinking alcohol, try rinsing your mouth out with water before you give another breath sample. Some foods, drinks, and medications contain enough alcohol to cause a test failure.

If you fail another test, be aware that in some states, 3 test failures in a row will cause the device to enter permanent lockout. The only way to resolve that is for your service center to get involved.

If You Skip a Rolling Retest or Try to Get Someone Else to Take It

Skipping a rolling retest, or trying to get someone else to give a breath sample are both major program violations. Skipping a rolling retest may cause the same honking horn and flashing lights, which could lead to you getting pulled over by the police. Trying to get someone else to give a breath sample is just a dumb idea. The device is calibrated to you, specifically. The device will know if it is not you. In addition, many devices these days are equipped with a camera, so there will be photographic evidence that someone else tried to take the breath test for you.

And when we say “major program violations”, we mean that these violations are serious enough to get you kicked out of the restricted driving program. That means you would have to serve your full license suspension with no driving privileges at all. In addition, you could face fines and/or jail time, depending on your state, and your initial offense.

If you’re in an interlock restricted driving program, it’s in your best interests to play by the rules. Don’t attempt to drink and drive. If you follow all the rules, you’ll complete the program as quickly as possible, and get your life back to normal.

Schedule Ignition Interlock Device Installation

If you need to get an IID installed, ALCOLOCK is only a phone call away. We have ignition interlock device installation locations in states across the country. To schedule your installation appointment, just call the service location most convenient to you. When you choose a location, keep in mind that where you get the device installed is where you will go for service visits. You can also call ALCOLOCK directly at (866) 700-9300.

You will also want to pick a day and time for installation where someone else can drive you and your vehicle to the service center. If someone else will be driving the vehicle while you have the IID installed, they should come with you.

Your installation appointment should take about an hour. Your technician will install the device and train you and any additional driver on how to use it. The technician will calibrate the device to you, specifically, and explain what all of the sounds, lights, and messages mean. You will get a user’s manual to keep handy in case you forget something. Finally, you will schedule your first service visit. Those are generally every 30-60 days and last about 20 minutes.

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