Ignition Interlock Device (IID): What Is It and How Does It Work?

There is no denying that the active enforcement of DUI laws has helped discourage drunk driving across the United States as well as in other countries. Consequently, there have been fewer reported injuries, deaths, and even fewer cases of property damage caused by alcohol-related accidents. Suppose you’re arrested and convicted of a DUI. In that case, there are many penalties you have to deal with, including fines, legal fees, license suspension, and community service, and you may have to adhere to an ignition interlock program.

You have to undergo all these as part of regaining your full driving privileges. It’s very important to note that many states have adopted the installation of ignition interlock devices for all DUI offenses, including first-time DUI offenses. Additionally, the length of time you will have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) or IID installed in your vehicle depends on the rules in your state and how well you follow them. Here is everything you need to know about ignition interlock devices and how they work. 

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

Also referred to as a BAIID, an ignition interlock device is a small device the size of a mobile phone. The court may require that an IID is installed in your vehicle to keep it from starting prior to providing a passing breath sample. This device comprises two main parts: the device that connects to your vehicle’s ignition system (the control box)  and a mouthpiece connected to the handset.

How Does an Interlock Device Work? 

Modern ignition interlock devices use a fuel cell sensor to test alcohol in your system using a deep lung or alveolar breath sample. When you blow into the mouthpiece, the ignition interlock device will test your breath alcohol concentration (BrAC). 

Ignition Interlock Device

If the BrAC level is higher than the prescribed limit (or alcohol set point specified in your state), your vehicle’s ignition system will not activate and you won’t be able to drive the vehicle for a given amount of time. It’s very important to note that the device will periodically ask for a breath sample after the ignition system starts, also referred to as a rolling retest. 

A rolling retest is there to ensure that you continuously give breath samples that are below the alcohol set point. If you don’t provide the rolling retest sample, the device will send warnings, and an alarm system will go off. You can only stop the alarm by providing an alcohol-free breath sample or stopping the vehicle’s engine. 

The IID keeps track of all the readings from your breath test samples. Any infractions are reported when the data is downloaded during monitor service. Infractions can lead to more penalties and sanctions on your end including extending your ignition interlock requirement. 

One of the myths surrounding ignition interlock devices is that they can shut off your engine automatically. This is not true because it would be dangerous to you and other drivers using the road. Once the vehicle is started the device cannot stop the engine from running.

To keep your ignition interlock device working properly, you must ensure that it is calibrated regularly; most jurisdictions across different states recommend that calibration occurs every 30 to 60 days. Calibrations are conducted by an authorized trained technician in an authorized service center.  

The IID will always alert you when it needs servicing. It’s important to ensure that you watch for early recall warnings and service it on time to avoid issues with being unable to start your vehicle. 

How Do You have an Ignition Interlock Device installed?

IIDs can have many different features, the features of your ignition interlock device will mainly depend on the legal requirements of the state you reside in and the specifics of your case. Most ignition interlock devices come with a camera, and other features. The camera feature is used for positive identification purposes, and to ensure that it is actually the participant who is providing the required breath samples.  

As far as the cost of installing an ignition interlock device is concerned, this will depend on your provider. Most companies lease these devices. They typically charge about $70 to $200 for installation and $60 to $90 per month for maintenance/calibration services. 

It’s important to note that convicted drivers are responsible for paying these fees unless the judge has instructed otherwise. However, some states offer financial assistance for those looking to lease ignition interlock devices. 

What Is the Purpose of an Ignition Interlock Device?

Auto Mechanic Working in Garage. Repair Service.

In many cases, if convicted or suspected of any drunk driving offenses, you may have the option to install an ignition device in your vehicle. This device is meant to help you retain some of your driving privileges. This allows you to get basic use of your vehicle, which is especially important if you need your vehicle to drive to and from work or school and have appointments with your health care provider. 

According to recent reports, the areas in which these devices are used and enforced have seen notable differences in terms of reduction of alcohol related crashes. This explains why many in law enforcement and the judicial system consider interlock devices an important tool for combating drunk driving in the United States. 

Summing Up

At Clear2Drive, we are committed to helping you retain your legal driving privileges by guiding you through your interlock program without any hidden costs attached. We will be with you every step of the way when it comes to ignition interlock installation and ensure that you’re acquainted with a set of guidelines that will keep you safe on the road. 

Ready to learn more? If you’re looking for a reliable ignition interlock program that will get you back on the road in the shortest time possible, contact us today at Clear2Drive and let us help you.

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