What are the Concerns of Having an Interlock Ignition Device?

At the beginning of 2019, the State of California expanded the Interlock Ignition Device (IID) program statewide, and drivers convicted of DUI will be required to use one. This device is used to help eliminate the risk of driving under the influence.

What Is an Interlock Ignition Device?

An Interlock Ignition Device is a mini breathalyzer that is roughly the size of a cell phone. If the judge orders that you require this device, you will need to have it professionally installed and maintained. You will also require that multiple devices be installed if you drive more than one vehicle. There is an installation fee, removal fee, and the device must be calibrated regularly, for an additional monthly fee.

How Does It Work?

Before starting your car, you will need to blow into the IID. If you show no signs of alcohol use, your vehicle will start. However, if it detects even a small trace of alcohol, your car will not start. In addition, while driving, the IID will require samples at different intervals ranging from 5-15 minutes. After the first interval, it might not ask again for up to 45 minutes. The device is to help prevent you from drinking after the car is in motion. You are also allowed 6 minutes after the device asks for another sample.

Some wonder if you do not pass the breathalyzer while driving, will the IID disable your car? If you fail, your device will not shut your engine down; it will encourage you to pull over when conditions are safe. Regardless of whether you comply with pulling over, the device will report “fail” on your record. These records will be used against you in court. This is a breach of your probation and could lead to the loss of your license.

When Is an IID Necessary?

By law in the State of California, an interlock ignition device could be required to be installed into your car only after one DUI conviction. Whether you plead guilty or the court determines that you’re guilty, both are causes for installing the device. Specific variables will be considered. While it may be implemented after your first offense, these variables include: if your BAC at the time of arrest is .015% or higher; if you refuse to submit a chemical blood or breath test; if you have had a past DUI conviction. Also, if you have been in an accident and have injured another driver. These are all violations and could be cause for implementing an Interlock Ignition Device.

How Long Is an IID Needed?

In the state of California, typically, an IID will need to be installed for six months after a first conviction. An IID is needed for one year after a second conviction and for 2-3 years following a third or fourth conviction. These sentences will be influenced by if you cause injury to another driver. If not convicted but found liable by the DMV could be cause for the IID to be installed for up to one year. It comes down to the factors in the situation: first offense, multiple offenses, accident, injury, if you have a restricted license or if the DMV deems it necessary.

Could an IID Be Easily Tricked?

Some contend whether your IID can be manipulated by obscuring your breath with a mint, gum, or having a friend blow into the device. Neither are effective ways to “fool” the device. An IID measures breath based on a molecular level, meaning that no amount of gum or mouthwash will corrupt the test. It will detect any trace of alcohol, regardless.

The next manipulation might seem harder to justify: why can’t my friend blow into it? They can, but, understand that the device will retest, so unless you are driving with the sober friend—which is highly unlikely because why wouldn’t your friend drive you at that point?—you will need to test again. Not only does the IID have a cord length that will only reach the driver, but it also has a camera that takes a picture upon each test, so even if you get away with having a friend blow into it at the onset, that image will be on your record and will be reviewed in court. It is also intuitive enough to measure your breath pattern. Therefore it is possible that a different recording of your typical breath pattern could also be used against you in court. The risk is not worth the reward. Fraud is a crime that will lead to more significant consequences than merely not being able to drive home because you have been drinking.

What About Medications or Other Drugs?

Driving impaired with drugs, prescription or otherwise, is illegal because driving while impaired is still driving while impaired. However, the IID is specifically designed to monitor BAC, not drug consumption. However, this is not an excuse to switch to using drugs as this device intends to protect you and others from impaired driving. Further, if you are pulled over or at a safety stop checkpoint, an oral cheek swab might be administered, and these tests can detect drugs. California is a zero tolerance state with more and more law enforcement agencies utilizing Automatic License Plate Readers, which can show an officer if the driver of the registered vehicle has a prior DUI conviction and increases your chances of being pulled over, so if an officer deems you impaired, regardless of a medication being prescribed, you will end up in jail again.

The result of driving while impaired will cause consequences and even a loss of a license. You should never drive under the influence. You are not an exception, and the more you risk it, the more you risk your safety and the safety of others. True Recovery provides unique support through our Court Services branch of the treatment center. With 24/7 availability, it is always the right time to call. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.