How Do I Pass An ALCOLOCK Ignition Interlock Device Breath Test?

If you’ve been convicted of DUI or DWI and you’ve been ordered to get an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle while you’re on a restricted driving program, ALCOLOCK is here to help you. When we install your IID, we will give you a comprehensive training in how to use the device, and how to ensure you pass an ALCOLOCK ignition interlock device breath test.

It’s important when you come to the installation visit that you have not had anything to drink within the last 24 hours, as we will have you perform a breath test to make sure you can do it accurately, and we will calibrate the device according to your state’s specifications. Your state DMV website likely has a section on ignition interlock devices and will lay out the specifics of your state’s program.

How Ignition Interlock Devices Work

Before we get into the specifics of how to pass an ALCOLOCK ignition interlock breath test, it’s important that you know how the devices work. In a nutshell, ignition interlock devices are a two part system. There’s the Electronics Control Unit (ECU), which the technician hooks into your car’s electronics system — specifically the starter. Then there is the handheld device, with a mouthpiece attachment that you breathe into. The handheld device has an alcohol fuel sensor, which is very sensitive to any amount of alcohol.

Each time you get into your vehicle to start it, you must first perform a breath test by blowing into the device. If it detects an amount of alcohol above the limit set for your state (these limits are very low, usually .002 to .025 %), the device will communicate to the ECU to disable the starter. If you pass the test, you can start the car. Simple, right?

Keep in mind, you will also have to repeat the breath test while you are driving. This is called a rolling retest. We don’t recommend that you take the test while your car is in motion. Your device will alert you several minutes before the test is required to give you time to pull over. If you fail the rolling retest with your engine running, the ignition interlock will NOT stop your engine. It is only connected to your starter, for safety reasons. The device will, however, record the test failure. Depending on your program, you may need to bring your vehicle in for an unscheduled service visit so that information can be sent to your reporting agency.

How to Pass the Test

OK, now that you know how the ignition interlock device works, you’re ready. The first thing is, don’t take the test if you’ve been drinking. In fact, don’t even bother to get into the car if you’ve been drinking, unless someone else is driving. Every time you take a breath test, the device records whether you passed or failed. It also records if you skipped a rolling retest. Those results are sent monthly or more often, to your reporting agency. Depending on the specifics of your program, you may be penalized for failing or skipping breath tests.

And, if you were drinking at home the evening before, be especially careful the next morning before you attempt to leave for work. For most people, it takes their body one hour to process one drink. If you were binge drinking the night before, you could still be legally drunk when you wake up in the morning.

If you haven’t been drinking, passing the test should be a relative breeze. Blow hard enough for the device to register, like your technician showed you during your training. If there is no alcohol on your breath, you should pass the ALCOLOCK ignition interlock device breath test with flying colors.

You Can Fail a Test Even If You Haven’t Been Drinking

Wait, what? Well, yes, it isn’t likely, but it is possible to fail the ignition interlock breath test even if you haven’t been drinking. We did say these devices are VERY sensitive to alcohol. Over the years, it’s been established that using, eating or drinking certain things may cause you to fail the breath test even if you haven’t been drinking beer or other alcohol..

These include:

  • Mouthwash
  • Certain breath mints
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cough medicine
  • Rum cake
  • Pasta with vodka sauce
  • Some energy drinks

So we would recommend that you wait 15 minutes after eating or drinking anything, and swish your mouth out with water before you take the breath test, to ensure you don’t have any food particles in your mouth.

If you believe you failed a breath test when you shouldn’t have, you should notify ALCOLOCK, your DUI lawyer, and your reporting agency.

We’re With You on the Way Back

At ALCOLOCK, we have one goal — to help you get your full driving privileges back. We offer quick installation and convenient maintenance visits at service centers all over the United States to to help you stay in full compliance with your DUI or DWI restricted driving program. Call us today at 866-700-9300 or use our contact form to schedule your installation.