How Do Interlock Ignition Devices Work?

By April 8, 2016DUI / DWAI

By Associate Attorney
The Gasper Law Group, PLLC

Drunk Bride

Ignition interlocks, also known as Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (BAIID), prevent inebriated people from operating motor vehicles.

The technology connects a breath detection system to the vehicle’s ignition, which provides a means of protecting DUI offenders from harming themselves and others while driving while intoxicated. Before a vehicle with an ignition interlock can function, the driver must blow into the device, which then examines the chemicals on his or her breath. The engine won’t start unless the breath alcohol content (BAC) falls below a predetermined level – normally between 0.02 and 0.04 BAC.

Extra Feature Prevents Circumvention

Some ignition interlock devices also conduct rolling tests at random intervals, ranging from five to thirty minutes after the engine ignites. These tests thwart circumvention of the system. For instance, a clever but devious driver might ask a sober buddy to breathe into the device to start the car or even audaciously consume alcohol once the vehicle is running. (We’ve even seen cases where parents have had their sober children blow into the ignition interlock for them.) For these reasons, more and more ignition interlock devices are also equipped with a camera that captures the image of the person using it.

How Do Authorities Monitor Ignition Interlock Devices?

Ignition interlock devices allow caseworkers and judges to monitor violations of DUI offenders. They also allow the DMV to monitor the sobriety of those who have reinstated their driver’s licenses following alcohol-related findings. Data recorders log the results of the breath tests, and those with oversight authority can print out or download these results at intervals. Detection of attempts to drive with an unacceptable BAC can lead to further sanctions.

What Do Ignition Interlock Devices Cost?

These devices aren’t inexpensive! Installation fees run between $70 to $150, and monthly collaboration and monitoring fees average approximately $60 to $80. Other charges vary with the state.

If you or a family member has incurred an injury from an accident involving a DUI driver or if you’ve been accused of DUI or of circumventing your ignition interlock device, call The Gasper Law Group team at 866-204-6973 or 719-227-7779 for a free strategic consultation about your rights.