An ignition interlock device or IID is a small handheld breathalyzer that’s designed to measure the amount of alcohol in the user’s breath. Also known as in-car breathalyzer, blow and go, and car interlock, it prevents users from starting the vehicle until a breath alcohol test has been taken.
Only those who are arrested and convicted of DUI are required to install an ignition interlock device. Since not everyone is familiar with the device, there have been widespread IID myths and misconceptions floating around that need to be debunked. Below are some of the most common ignition interlock myths and the truths behind them.
Myth #01: You can trick the ignition interlock device if you use the right methods.
Some people believe that when they obscure the smell of alcohol on their breath by using a chewing gum, the device won’t be able to recognize the alcohol in the sample provided. There is no truth to this. If truth be told, the device is designed to register breath-alcohol concentration at the molecular level.
Myth #02: Ignition interlock devices can also detect drugs.
While driving impaired by drugs is considered illegal, an ignition interlock device won’t be able to detect drug use. Even if you are not under the influence of alcohol, but you have used drugs, it is recommended that you don’t even attempt to drive.
Myth #03: An IID violates your constitutional rights.
The courts interpret driving as a privilege and not a right. Once convicted of DUI, you lose that privilege. The legislation intends to give you a chance to regain your driving privilege instead of suspension.
Myth #04: Someone else can blow into your IID for you.
Having a sober friend blow into your IID is prohibited and can be considered tampering with the device. It is important to remember that you will be required to do a retest after a few minutes of driving. That said, even if you get a sober friend to start the vehicle, you will eventually fail the retest.
Most ignition interlock devices come equipped with a camera that will capture a picture when the device is used. Many states will not take tampering lightly and might lead to adverse consequences like license suspension and even jail time.
Myth #05: Once the device has been installed, no one else can operate the vehicle.
Even after the device has been installed, any licensed motorist can lawfully operate the vehicle. However, that person will still be required to blow into the device. Unfortunately, you will be the one to answer if there are any violations.
Myth #06: Installing an IID can damage the vehicle.
Only approved service centers are allowed to install and uninstall the device so no damage will be done to the vehicle. The ignition interlock is installed into the vehicle’s wiring which is connected to the engine. Once uninstalled, all the wiring will be returned to its original configuration.
Myth #07: Some foods or beverages can cause a false positive.
Some foods and drinks can register alcohol much like other conventional alcoholic beverages. To avoid a similar scenario from occurring, you need to remember that if alcohol is present in the food or beverage you consume or drink, it is possible for the breathalyzer to detect it in the sample you provide.
In line with this, it would be best to wait for at least 15 minutes after a meal before providing a sample. Also, items like breath spray or mouthwash might lead to a positive BrAC reading if taken before giving a sample.
Myth #08: If the device fails, you will be unable to start and move your vehicle.
There’s an emergency override feature that allows you to call the service provider to activate the bypass or override function. This one-time-only feature allows the vehicle to start without requiring a breath sample. You can then drive your vehicle to the service provider for repair or replacement of the IID.
Myth #09: If the engine stalls, you are required to resubmit another breath sample to restart the vehicle.
If the vehicle stalls the first time, a grace period or sample-free start is allowed so you can start the engine within three minutes.
Now that you know the truths behind some of the most prevalent IID myths, you will know how to use one properly and responsibly. To play safe, it is recommended that you check with the service provider if you have other questions you need answers to.
About the Author
Lauren McDowell is the Content Marketing Strategist for Interlock Install, a Phoenix-based company that performs the installations, service appointments, and
removals for ADS Interlock. When not writing, she attends book clubs and enjoys reading stories to her kids.