An alcohol interlock device is quite simply a breathalyzer that is connected to your car. You blow into the interlock device and as long as you are sober then you are able to start your car. If the interlock device detects alcohol in your breath, then it will not allow you to start your car and will send out a notification of your failed breath test. One can be required to install an interlock device in their car by one of two ways: 1) If your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your DUI arrest was at .17 or higher, commonly known as super drunk, or 2) If your license was revoked due to drunk driving convictions. In either situation, the interlock device must stay installed in your vehicle for a minimum of one year. In this article we examine how an interlock works, things to watch out for, and what it is like to live with an interlock installed in your vehicle.
Where is an interlock installed exactly and how does it work?
An interlock device is installed somewhere on your dash or center console. These devices can be fairly discreet but are obviously still visible within the interior of your vehicle. The device measures your breath sample by blowing into a mouthpiece attached to the device which will then measure your BAC. If a passing breath sample is not given, then the interlock device will serve as a disruption between your car starter and ignition. Some interlock devices also come equipped with a camera which will take a picture of the user blowing into the device to prove their identity. If the device detects alcohol and prevents the user from starting the car, the car is then usually “frozen” out for a period of time before the interlock will allow for another test to start the car. Note: most interlock companies do not install interlock devices on motorcycles due to the dangers involved.
What should I watch out for? Can I still use mouthwash?
Firstly, interlock devices are quicker to use than most people think. They typically will take a couple minutes but there are devices that can get you on the road in around 10 seconds. Be aware that any alcohol can lead to a positive test. So be careful around items like mouthwash, hand sanitizer, perfume etc. as these items typically have alcohol in them and can lead to a positive test.
How much does it cost?
It is important to note that any costs related to an interlock are 100% your responsibility as the offender. It is important to remember that driving is a privilege, not a right. In an effort to restore this privilege, some measures such as an interlock may be necessary to ensure your and other’s safety on the road. The first real expense is not a financial one, it is a requirement that you change your attitude and mindset about what an interlock is. It can be viewed as a punishment, or an opportunity to regain your driver’s license again. The hard cost isn’t cheap either. On average installation can run from $75-150 and monthly service can run from $40-100. When you add that cost over the minimum 12 months in your car then you can easily get to an annual cost of over $1,000.
How much will it affect my life?
The only effects that you can’t change regarding an interlock device are the time and cost involved. There is no getting around how much an interlock device will cost you to install and operate nor can you ever get the time back that you spend in blowing into the device to start your car. However, the emotional and sometimes shameful effects are a state of mind that can be framed to help you manage your time with the interlock, see it as an opportunity to prove yourself and your sobriety so you can get back on the road with a full license.
If you are considering a driver’s license restoration it is important to know to expect an interlock if the Secretary of State decides to give you your license back. If you have any further questions about this issue feel free to give us a call on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896 or contact us online.