What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is connected to a vehicle’s ignition system and temporally prevents the vehicle from starting if the driver’s breath alcohol concentration exceeds the legal level. Thus keeping drivers from starting and operating their vehicles if they have been drinking alcohol. An ignition interlock device can be called many things. It can be called an IID, IID Device, car breathalyzer or interlock device.

If you have been convicted of a DUI or related offense, then you may hear the words “ignition interlock” mentioned as an alternative to a lengthy period of driver’s license suspension. The device is offered as an alternative to license suspension in many states and may be mandatory for some offenses. All states have some variation of an ignition interlock law.

 

How Do Ignition Interlock Devices Work?

When you start the vehicle, you will have to blow into the mouthpiece connected to the car breathalyzer. It will then measure your breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) and automatically determine whether to allow the car to start. To ensure a sober driver is behind the wheel, the device also requires rolling retests at intervals while you are driving. Any retest you take, whether pass or fail, will be reported to your monitoring authority.

The device requires anyone who drives the vehicle to provide a breath test, even if they are not the owner. Depending on where you reside, a camera may be required along with your ignition interlock device. This helps protect you from an alleged violation if someone other than you attempts to drive the vehicle after consuming alcohol. Some states will extend your restricted driving period with every attempt to start the car with a BrAC over the threshold. Follow these steps to start your vehicle with a Draeger interlock device.

Turning car key in ignition and holding interlock device

Turn your key, or press start, and the device will power up.

Young man using car breathalyzer

Take a deep breath in, then blow.
When you hear a tone, take a deep breath in again.

Young man passing car breathalyzer test

When the display shows “Test Passed”
start your engine and go!

When is an IID Device Required?

You will be required to get an ignition interlock device if a judge orders it. A device may also be offered as an alternative to license suspension if you meet specific state and administrative requirements. These vary by state. The ignition interlock device may be required for periods ranging from six months to several years, depending on the severity of your offense and your history. If you receive a hardship license, you will also likely be required to get an IID device installed.

At Draeger Interlock, we do our best to offer ignition interlock devices at a reasonable price (link to ignition interlock cost page). Although fees vary from state to state, we offer transparent pricing which includes the installation of your device, reporting, maintenance, and service. Some states offer financial assistance to help cover ignition interlock cost. Draeger is a reputable ignition interlock installation service provider you can rely on and likely has a location in your area, and you may take your vehicle there to get started. The installation process can take from 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on the make and model of your car. As a note, you may be required to install a device to every vehicle in your household. You will be returning at least once a month for monitoring.

What is it Like to Live with an Ignition Interlock Device?

Having to use an ignition interlock device before you drive may be an extra step, but it does help you become a safer driver. In some cases, the interlock is visible from outside the vehicle. Draeger, as an interlock provider sells devices that are designed to be discrete. Living with an interlock ignition device can be difficult to accept to start with, but most people rapidly become accustomed to using the device. Generally, you should avoid alcohol-containing mouthwash and keep other products with alcohol away from the device. Avoid driving 15 minutes after eating, drinking anything other than water, or smoking.

Rolling retests will allow you a few minutes to pull over to provide a breath test safely, so plan your route accordingly.

We hope you now have a better understanding of what an ignition interlock device is. Getting one should not be viewed as a punishment, but rather as an alternative to allow you to maintain your driver’s license and an aid to help you get your life back together. If you are required to get an ignition interlock device, then you should contact Draeger today to work with professional ignition interlock installers. Our ignition interlock devices are discrete, well-designed, and will help you get back on the road.

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*Links to any third-party websites herein are provided for your reference and convenience only. Dräger did not create nor develop, and does not own, any such third-party websites. Dräger does not endorse nor support the content of, nor any opinions stated in, any such third-party website links. Dräger is not responsible for the content of any third-party website or its accuracy or reliability. Nothing contained in this article or in any such third-party website shall be considered legal advice or be deemed to constitute legal advice. For any legal advice concerning a DUI arrest, charge, conviction or consequences thereof, you should contact an attorney of your choice.