Ignition Interlock Devices Exposed

by Ladyblogger on February 24, 2013

It is legal in all 50 U.S. states for a judge to mandate the usage of an interlock ignition device for a preset amount of time for an individual who has been convicted of a DUI. However, some states will only allow this penalty to be used if the driver is a repeat offender. Statistics indicate that approximately 40 percent of the people who are arrested for a DUI will be a repeat offender, and the interlock ignition device is utilized to keep them from committing yet another offense.

How does the Interlock Ignition Device Work?

A Monitech interlock ignition device can be placed into any vehicle, and the person who is being penalized is responsible for paying for the installation and a monthly monitoring fee. Once the device is in place, it will be impossible to start the vehicle’s engine without taking a modified breathalyzer test. Each state has different guidelines about the blood alcohol content level that the device is looking for, but it is typical to have it set at 0.02. If the presence of alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start. Many drivers will also have to take additional rolling retests to ensure that a sober driver did not blow into the device to help an intoxicated friend get on the road. The results of each test are reported to the monitoring company, and too many failed tests can cause the driver to face additional penalties.

Do these Devices Fail?

Although the proper operation rate appears to be quite high, it is definitely possible for an interlock ignition device to provide a false reading. Sometimes this is caused by a glitch, but it can also be caused by factors such as burping or using mouthwash right before you take the test. Therefore, it is best to avoid trying to start your vehicle within 15 minutes of anything that causes the presence of mouth alcohol.

There are currently no firm numbers that indicate the how often an interlock ignition device provides false readings, and this is most likely due to the fact that it is practically impossible for a driver’s claim to be verified by the time the device’s results are analyzed. Because of this, several lawyers have argued against the accuracy of interlock ignition devices when the results have gotten their clients into legal trouble. There has also been at least one lawsuit filed based on difficulty with the usage of these devices during a rolling retest.

Will My Car Really Shut Off if I Fail a Rolling Retest?

Most interlock ignition devices will force the driver to take random rolling retests while the car is in motion. If you fail to pass the test, your vehicle is not going to completely shut down, but it might practically force you to pull over. In most cases, the device is designed to make your car’s horn honk and lights flash until you either pass a second rolling retest or turn off the engine. That fact that there is a chance that this could happen to a driver who is completely sober is appalling, but so far, the legal system believes that the potential risk is outweighed by the benefit of keeping intoxicated people off of the road.

If you have been the victim of an interlock ignition device that provided improper results, you should contact an attorney immediately. Even though it will be difficult for either side to conclusively prove their case, you will lose by default if you do not stand up for your legal rights.

Anthony Joseph is a freelance author who writes about interesting legal topics, and contributes this article toward the fight against drunk driving. It can be a frustrating thing to receive a false positive reading when you have a Monitech ignition device in your vehicle. The law firm of Powers McCartan is currently defending many victims of this false positive reading. Their attorneys are determined to make sure that your rights are protected.

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