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The purpose of ignition interlock systems and how they work

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2023 | DUI/DWI

Even with the best of intentions, it’s possible for an Indiana resident to be charged with driving under the influence. Some people don’t realize that they can face this charge even after consuming a single alcoholic beverage. If you are convicted, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device on your vehicle; this is their purpose and how they work.

Interlock ignition devices explained

An interlock ignition device (IID) is a device installed on the vehicle of a person convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). It’s a small, handheld breathalyzer required by law to ensure that the individual doesn’t get behind the wheel while intoxicated. An IID comprises different parts: a handheld unit, mouthpiece, relay cord and camera unit.

How IIDs work

Although all IIDs have minor differences, they are all used to measure a person’s breath alcohol content (BrAC) to ensure that they don’t drive drunk. The device requires the driver to breathe into the mouthpiece to measure their BrAC. If the device detects a certain level of alcohol on their breath, the vehicle won’t start. On the flip side, if the individual has no traces of alcohol in their system, the vehicle should automatically start up.

If a driver fails the breath test when using the IID, they have a chance to retest. Depending on your model and other factors, you may be able to do so after a few minutes; however, the device will lock you out if you fail multiple times consecutively. Typically, if your BrAC is 0.02% or less, you are permitted to start your car to drive.

Remaining sober is the best way to avoid a DUI. However, if you’re required to use an IID, refraining from alcohol ensures that you can safely use your vehicle when you need it.