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 Frequently Asked Questions on the

Ignition Interlock Device Program

What is an ignition interlock system?

A Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) is a breath alcohol analyzer with microcomputer logic and internal memory that interconnects with the ignition and other control systems of a motor vehicle.

What is an ignition interlock program?

An interlock program is a structured means of providing a convicted impaired driver a restricted driving privilege.  Program participant must meet eligibility criteria and agree to abide by enforceable program guidelines that include the abstention from drinking alcohol prior to driving.

Why do we need an interlock program?

The habitual or problem drinking driver is not being reached by current methods of rehabilitation and driving suspensions.  The recidivism rate for these individuals remains high.  The interlock program is an immediate and effective deterrent against those who would drink and drive.

What is the effectiveness of an interlock program?

Based on recent studies conducted in the United States, problem drinkers who have participated in an interlock program, as compared to traditional sanctions, have re-arrest rates reduced by sixty five percent.

What is the type of license restriction?

Anyone who is allowed to enter the ignition interlock program is given a license which restricts the licensee to drive only vehicles that are equipped with an approved ignition interlock device.

How is the ignition interlock program enforceable?

After a licensee is accepted into the IID program, an approved IID will be installed by an approved installer and verified before the restricted license is issued.  The licensee will have to bring the vehicle back to the installer every thirty days for calibration.  The internal memory of the interlock will be read and a report will be available to the Department of Motor Vehicles.   This report will detail every driving event and any attempts to tamper or circumvent the IID.

Who pays for the ignition interlock program and what is the cost?

Participants of the ignition interlock program must pay all costs involved with the installation and maintenance of the IID directly to the vendor.  Costs are determined by each individual vendor. 

Can a balloon or other device be used to circumvent the IID?

No, devices currently available have anti-circumvention technology which causes the interlock to abort a bogus breath sample.

Can someone else take the breath test for the driver to start the vehicle?

Not legally.  Anyone who requests someone to take the test for them will be subject to arrest.   


Will the unit lose all memory if the battery is removed or disconnected?

No, a lithium battery provides back up memory to protect the data log.

Can a vehicle be “Hot Wired” to start without a breathe test?

Yes, but the unit will detect the violation and call for a breath test.  If a breath sample is not given, the horn will blow and the lights will flash.  A violation will be noted and an early service call is activated.

Can a participant leave his car running outside of a drinking establishment and then drive away?

No, the IID will randomly ask for a retest while the car is running.  If a breath test is not given the horn and light alarm will be activated and the unit will log a violation.

What happens when an individual fails to have their vehicle calibrated?

The IID will lock out the vehicle and will prevent further operation of the vehicle on the scheduled service appointment day.  Five to seven days before the calibration date the IID will remind the licensee via display on the IID that they’re due for their service appointment.  The vehicle would then have to be towed to the installation center.

What if the participant is taking medication or mouthwash with an alcohol base ?

Alcohol is alcohol.   If the Breath Alcohol Count (BAC) is over the preset level, the vehicle will not start and a fail will be noted in the memory.

What happens when a breath test is failed?

A short lockout period of a few minutes for the first failed BAC will occur giving a chance for a retest.  A longer lock out period for subsequent BAC test allow for alcohol to dissipate from the mouth and for the licensee to realize the reason for the failed BAC test.

If the IID malfunctions, will the vehicle shut off?

No, the IID cannot interrupt the operation of the vehicle once it is started.

What happens if the vehicle stalls in traffic?

The IID has a stall grace period, which allows the licensee the ability to start the vehicle without a breath sample, which will be recorded.

Will installation of an IID damage a vehicle?

No, the IID is only connected to the wiring of the vehicle and at the end of the time of restricted operation the wiring is restored to its former condition.

Will taking the “running retest” cause distracted driving by the operator?

No, when the retest signal is activated the licensee is given a few minutes to pull over and provide the breath sample. One must merely blow into the IID to complete the breath test.

How often will the IID be calibrated?

Every thirty (30) days.

Can a computer tamper with the IID?

No, unique and proprietary software and interface connections are needed to communicate with the IID.


How do I get an application for the IID or a list of approved vendors? 

You could download the application form (Form P-246) from our website or contact the Driver Services Division at (860) 263-5720