Q: What is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?

A: Similar to a Breathalyzer, an IID is installed into a motor vehicle’s dashboard.

Q: How does an IID work?

A: The driver must exhale into the device before the vehicle is started. If the resultant breath-alcohol concentration analyzed result is greater than the programmed blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the device will prevent the engine from starting.

Q: Why would I have to have an IID installed in my vehicle?

A: If your license was suspended because of a DUI offense, the court may require you to get an ignition interlock device to fully restore your driving privileges. 

Q: What happens if offenders do not get the device installed?

A: Failure to have an ignition interlock installed when ordered by a judge could result in an additional driving privilege suspension. The device stays on the vehicle(s) until completion of the time period imposed by the judge. 

Q: What is the penalty for having someone else exhale into the device?

A: Starting the car in some way other than blowing into the device, is an additional suspension of driving privileges.

Q: What happens if an offender has more than one vehicle?

A: The driver sentenced under this law cannot drive any vehicle that does not have this device installed in it. The DMV imprints a notation on the driver's license stating that the person shall not operate a motor vehicle unless it is equipped with an interlock device and enters this requirement in the person's driving record.

Q: What is the penalty for driving a vehicle without an IID installed?

A: The penalty for driving a vehicle equipped without the device is typically an additional suspension of driving privileges.

Q: Do I have to breath into the device after my engine starts?

A: Yes. At random times after the engine has been started, the IID will require another breath sample to prevent a friend from breathing into the device.

Q: Will the interlock device shut my car engine off?

A: No. An interlock device cannot turn off a running vehicle as it could create an unsafe driving situation. All that an interlock can do is interrupt the starter circuit and prevent the engine from starting.

Q: What happens if I do not give another sample after the engine starts?

A: If the breath sample isn’t provided, or the sample exceeds the present blood alcohol level, the device will log the event, warn the driver, and then start up an alarm until the ignition is turned off, or a clean sample is provided.

Q: What is the cost of an IID?

A: The costs of installation, maintenance, and calibration are generally paid for by the offender and are typically around $75 per month. 

Q: Will I be monitored while having the device installed?

A: Yes. The devices keep a record of the activity on the device and the interlocked vehicle's electrical system. The state requires that you bring your vehicle back to the installation location every 30 to 60 days after the installation, so that the device is checked and a report is sent to the state, or, the record, or log, is printed out or downloaded each time the device's sensors are calibrated, commonly at 30, 60, or 90-day intervals. Authorities may require periodic review of the log. If violations are detected, then additional sanctions can be implemented.

Q: Do ignition interlock devices keep people from having repeat DUI offenses?

A: According to a study done by the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS), ignition interlock devices, as well as monitoring, led to a 40-95% reduction in conviction rate of people who were previously arrested for DUI.

Q: What happens at the end of the term?

A: After the completion of the term, take your vehicle back to have the device removed (typically at no cost). 

Q: Is the device required for DUI/DWI offenders in many states?

A: As of 2009, almost all 50 states have laws permitting the imposition of IID’s as sentencing alternatives for drunk drivers. Most U.S. states now permit judges to order the installation of an IID as a condition of probation; for repeat offenders, and for first offenders in some states, law may mandate installation.

Q: Is the device required for DUI/DWI offenders in other countries?

A: Many countries are requiring the ignition interlock as a penalty for drivers convicted of driving under the influence, especially repeat offenders. Some politicians in Sweden, Japan, Canada, the U.S. and other countries have called for such devices to be installed as standard equipment in all motor vehicles sold.