What Is An Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device, also known simply as an interlock device, or IID, is essentially a car breathalyzer. If you’ve never been arrested for drunk driving, you might not have heard of an ignition interlock device. But if you or a loved one has been charged with DUI or DWI, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle in order to be able to drive anywhere. The IID is designed to prevent the driver from operating the vehicle while intoxicated.

The ignition interlock device requires you to blow into the device before you can start the vehicle. If your breath alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than the pre-programmed level, (generally .02 or .025) the device prevents the engine from starting.

In order to make sure that you haven’t had any alcohol since you initially started your vehicle, the IID will require you to give periodic, random samples as you are driving. These random tests are required by law to ensure you maintain compliance with the program. How often you have to retest may vary depending on where you live and the legal requirements in your state or county.

An ignition interlock device from ALCOLOCK should never suddenly stop your engine in the middle of the roadway. You’ll get advanced warning before you have to take a random sample test. The handset will give you both an auditory and a visual alert that it is time to retest. Then, a retest timer will start. You’ll have several minutes to find a place to stop your vehicle safely, either on the side of the road or in a parking lot, where you can then conduct the BAC test. We advise against attempting to conduct a breath test while you are actively driving..

Does My State Require an Ignition Interlock Device?

According to the National Council of State Legislatures, all 50 states have some sort of ignition interlock law. Twenty-nine states have mandatory interlock requirements for all DUI/DWI offenses. The state of California has a pilot program going in its four most populated counties, The length of time you must have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle varies from state to state, and varies based on if this is a first offense or repeat offense.

Many times, the only driving you are allowed to do after your license is reinstated and you have an interlock device, is to and from work.

How Does an Ignition Interlock Device Connect to My Vehicle?

An ignition interlock device like the ALCOLOCK has two main components: the handheld device you blow into, and the Electronic Control Unit, or ECU. The ECU connects to the power and control circuits of your vehicle which allow your vehicle to run. When you pass the breathalyzer test, the handheld unit sends a signal to the ECU to enable the power and control circuits. If you fail the test, those circuits are disabled, and your car won’t start..

It’s important to have an authorized dealer install your interlock device to prevent damage to your vehicle. ALCOLOCK’s technicians are highly trained and certified and know exactly what to do and what to avoid when installing an ignition interlock device.

If you are required by the courts to get an IID installed in your vehicle, you are financially responsible for doing so. And you must get an interlock device installed in every car you drive. Failure to do so, or trying to beat the system can result in further penalties, which vary by state.

You will also be required to get regular maintenance checks to ensure your IID is working properly and has not been tampered with. These device maintenance checks are required by law. We can generally get you in and out in 20 minutes.

Where Can I Get an Ignition Interlock Device Installed?

ALCOLOCK has many locations across the United States. All of our locations are state approved and licensed to install ignition interlock devices. When you call or contact us to set up an installation appointment, we’ll verify your eligibility over the phone. Once we get verification from the local court system, we’ll get you scheduled for installation within 48 hours. You can search our locations for the one most convenient to you. There will be an initial installation cost, followed by the monthly maintenance cost.

Ignition Interlock Exemptions

Many states offer certain exemptions to the ignition interlock device requirements. We address some of those here.

What If I Can’t Afford an Interlock Device?

Some states have exemptions for financial hardship, and other states have programs to help people who are unemployed or otherwise financially indigent pay for the interlock device. If you think an IID will be a financial hardship, your DUI lawyer or public defender can offer you advice on your options.

What If I Drive a Company Car or Van During Work Hours?

Many states provide for an employer exemption, which requires additional paperwork. If your employer is willing to trust you with their company owned vehicle, but does not want to have an IID installed on a company vehicle, you and your employer must fill out the required paperwork. You may wish to consult with your DUI lawyer and your employer in this regard.

We’re With You On the Way Back

ALCOLOCK is dedicated to helping you successfully complete the terms of your DUI/DWI program, so you can earn your driver’s license back and get full driving privileges reinstated. Call 866-700-9300 with questions, or use our contact form to schedule an installation.