An ignition interlock device (IID) or breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) can prevent a driver from starting a vehicle if the driver’s breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) is above a pre-set level.

  1. Once the driver gets into their vehicle, the device will prompt the driver to provide a breath sample.
  2. The driver will provide a valid breath sample, by blowing into the device as previously instructed.
  3. If the breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) analyzed in the breath sample is below the pre-set level, the engine can be started.
  4. If the BrAC is at or above the pre-set level, the ability to start the ignition will be disabled by the IID and the vehicle will not start. The IID will “lockout” for a short period of time. Once the “lockout” period has expired, another breath sample can be provided. If this sample is below the pre-set level, then the engine can be started.
  5. At random times during vehicle operation, the IID will prompt the driver to provide another breath sample (also referred to as a “Retest”). The purpose of the Retest is to ensure the driver provided the initial sample and that no alcohol has been ingested since the initial breath sample was provided. If the retest is failed or missed, the IID will log the event, warn the driver, and in some cases sound an alarm (e.g. lights flashing, horn honking, etc.) until the ignition is turned off, or a valid breath sample is provided.

There are a variety of reasons. Someone may need to install to satisfy a court-ordered requirement—such as for probation or deferred prosecutions programs—or they may need an IID to retain their driving privileges as part of an administrative licensing requirement.

Other reasons to install an IID may include child custody and family visitation issues or work-related compliance requirements when alcohol use is a concern. Others may voluntarily install an IID to ensure children or other family members are not drinking and driving.

An ignition interlock program may enforce a licensing restriction that requires the use of an IID on any vehicle operated by the offender. It’s an effort to reduce repeat drunk driving offenses, while allowing the offender to retain their driving privileges—enabling them to continue working and caring for family rather than forbidding them to drive for a mandated period of time.

Drunk driving is a crime and habitual offenders should have their licenses suspended and be required to drive with an ignition interlock device while they adjust to living a clean and sober lifestyle. Unfortunately, research shows that as many as 75% of people with suspended licenses continue to drive illegally.

So, suspensions alone do not help people change their drinking and driving behavior. A better approach is to require ignition interlocks for all DUI offenses to ensure they are driving safely. Ignition interlocks give all-offenders the ability to demonstrate a change in behavior while carrying on daily activities like going to work, going to the grocery store and taking their kids to school and activities.

Installation: Once the offender has an IID restriction, or is ordered by the court to install, an appointment is scheduled with a service center for installing the IID. At the initial installation, the offender will be trained on how to use the device and the applicable program requirements.

Monitoring: The IID will be monitored as prescribed by the state motor vehicle administrator’s or the court’s guidelines. The device’s data is monitored to ensure the offenders comply with their state’s ignition interlock program. The data in most cases is uploaded automatically from the device and in some cases, can be done by returning to the service center.

Removal: Once the order has been issued removing the IID restriction, the offender can then schedule a removal appointment.

Once the offender has a device installed in their vehicle, the service frequency varies from state to state. The frequency in which the device is serviced can be anywhere from every 30 days to 180 days. Device calibration is determined by state and device manufacturer.

There may be costs for installing, monitoring and removing the device from the vehicle. The device is leased to the offender for the duration of the program. At installation the customer should receive a breakdown of all costs.

On average, the installation ranges from $70 to $150, and monitoring ranges from $60 to $80 per month. That equates to roughly $3 dollars per day while the device is installed.

Certain states have affordability or indigency funds that help offenders offset the costs of the device and installation, based upon their income verification. Affordability program guidelines for these funds vary by state.

Many ignition interlock devices today are equipped with state-of-the-art technology that allows breath samples to be uploaded to the appropriate monitoring agency or officer in real time. Devices can also be equipped with GPS tracking that some states use to alert authorities to the location of an intoxicated driver who has failed a random breath test. Devices that do not have the capability of uploading data automatically will have their data downloaded when the offender returns to the service center for service. This service download can vary from 30-180 days.

All IIDs conform to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards as set forth in the model specifications for breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIIDs) in the Federal Register, and any other State specific requirements.

Ultimately, it is the offender’s legal obligation under the conditions of the interlock program that require them to be the person to provide a breath sample each time the vehicle is started.

Depending on the type of device, other security features, like cameras, may be in place to deter violations of someone providing a breath sample other than the offender.

At the time of installation, offenders are trained on the proper procedure to provide a breath sample. Each device has their own technique and the offender is thoroughly trained on this procedure.

If an offender has difficulty providing a sufficient amount of breath for a valid sample, the IID can be lowered to the minimum allowable standards set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA). However, the process and standards for lowering the breath sample vary by state and each offender’s case is considered individually.

These devices meet the strict standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which regulates the overall safety of motor vehicles and the technology to make them operate safely and more efficiently. NHTSA’s standards do not permit IIDs to disable the engine if a retest is missed or failed. The IID can prevent the ignition from allowing the engine to start, but cannot disable the engine. If a random retest is failed or missed, state regulations may require that the vehicle provide physical indications, such as the horn sounding or lights flashing until a passing breath sample is provided or the vehicle is turned off.

The IID will allow the ignition to be restarted without providing a breath test for a couple minutes after the engine is turned off. This will allow the driver a sufficient amount of time to quickly restart the engine.

The device will detect alcohol in all its forms. Individuals are trained to take great care before starting their vehicle.

Alcohol-based mouthwash can also contaminate a breath sample. Individuals are advised to rinse their mouth with water before taking the breath test. If the use of mouthwash causes a failed breath test, individuals should rinse their mouth with water and wait ten minutes before attempting to provide another breath sample.

No. This is a myth. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco do not contain alcohol.