Common questions about breath alcohol ignition interlock devices

The Breath Alcohol Ignition Device was first invented in the early 1970’s. The devices were introduced into the DUI offender marketplace in the mid-1980’s. Since that time over 35 states have created legislation providing for the use of interlocks in the fight against drunk driving.

An ignition interlock is a breath alcohol detector connected to the ignition system of a motor vehicle. The vehicle operator must take and pass a breath test at which time the interlock will allow the vehicle to be started. The interlock contains a data logging feature that records all breath tests, instances where the vehicle was started and a number of other items.

Following are answers to the most common questions asked about ignition interlock devices.

Can someone use a balloon or other air source to mimic human breath?
Can someone else take the test for the driver to start the vehicle (i.e. curb service)?
Will the unit lose all memory if the battery is disconnected?
If a participant gets stranded and he/she thinks it is the unit causing a problem, is there anything they can do?
Can a vehicle be hot wired to start without a breath test?
Can a participant leave his car running outside of a bar, drink inside and then drive away?
What happens when the participant forgets his/her service appointment?
What if the participant is taking a medicine with an alcohol base?
What if the participant uses mouthwash in the morning and the mouthwash has an alcohol base?
What happens if a participant fails the breath test?
Can others drive a vehicle equipped with your interlock?
What happens if a vehicle needs repairs?
If the unit would malfunction, will it shut the vehicle off?
What happens if the vehicle would stall in traffic?
What happens if the participant is out of state and experiences problems with his/her unit?
Will the installation damage my vehicle?
Will the requirements to take a running test cause the driver to take his/her eyes off the road creating a hazardous situation?
How often does the device need calibration checks?
Can the device be affected by RF signals?
Can the device be tampered with by computer?