The Dos and Don’ts of Using Your Ignition Interlock Device

Ignition interlock devices are proving to be an effective tool in the campaign against drunk driving, especially when it comes to reducing DUI recidivism.

With all 50 states and the District of Columbia implementing ignition interlock laws in one form or another, DUI offenders all over the United States can all be ordered by the court trying their case to install an IID in their car.

Should you find yourself among them, you need to keep in mind that a court-ordered ignition interlock program has rules that you need to follow or face further legal consequences.

Here are some of the dos and don’ts of using an ignition interlock device.

DO: Heed court orders and install an IID.

One of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make when it comes to IIDs is ignoring the court order to install one in your car.

Ignition interlock installation is usually part of a DUI offender’s probation, and not installing an IID despite court orders is a violation of its terms.

The court may order your arrest to face a probation violation hearing. Once the court finds that you did violate your probation, the judge will likely tighten its terms, order you to pay a fine, and even sentence you to jail.

DON’T: Tamper with the device.

Whatever you do, don’t even think about trying to remove, disable, trick, or damage the device.

Tampering with an ignition interlock device comes with harsh consequences, including a maximum of 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

You will also have to pay for a damaged IID, a rather expensive piece of equipment usually owned by a private ignition interlock device provider.

DO: Bring your car in for device calibrations.

You are required to have your device calibrated every 30 to 180 days, depending on your state.

Calibration ensures that your IID is in good working condition. Skip it, and you could find yourself dealing with a device lockout, which presents a different set of problems for you.

DON’T: Leave your engine running.

If you occasionally leave your car and keep the engine running for whatever reason, it would be in your best interest to break this habit.

IIDs are designed to prompt DUI offenders for random “rolling retests” to ensure that you’re staying sober while on the road. That means you could be up for one at any time and end up missing the alert and the test altogether.

A missed test will be reported as a failed test, which could help put you in further trouble down the line. Device lockouts also happen due to failed tests.

DO: Start your car from time to time.

Even when you’re not planning on going anywhere, it would be best to start and drive your car from time to time, perhaps once every couple of days. That’s because your IID draws power from your battery.

The device needs a constant power supply of 12 volts to work properly. Not starting your car for long periods could affect the performance of your car battery, which could end up supplying the device with less than the required 12 volts.

If the voltage drops, the device might interpret it as a tampering attempt and report it as such.

DON’T: Consume food and drinks that contain alcohol.

It’s a given that you shouldn’t drink alcohol before starting your car because your IID will undoubtedly detect it on your breath and prevent you from starting the engine.

The problem is, some foods, drinks, and consumer goods contain certain amounts of alcohol.

Mustard, for example, often contains wine or other types of alcohol. The same goes for some brands of soy sauce. There are also soft drinks with alcohol content.

Then there’s mouthwash, whose alcohol content is even higher than most beers and wines.

To avoid a fail on your IID test, stay away from these products, at least in the minutes before attempting to start your car.

Being in an ignition interlock program can get tough, but as long as you finish it while following the rules, you will see the device legally removed from your car sooner than you think.

About Lauren McDowell

Lauren McDowell is the Content Marketing Strategist for Interlock Install, a Phoenix-based company that performs the installations, service appointments, and removals for ADS Interlock. When not writing, she attends book clubs and enjoys reading stories to her kids.

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