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How To Handle An Interlock Device Lockout?

If you are required to use an ignition interlock device, there is a lot that you need to know. These devices can be complex and finicky, but you need to understand them if you are required to use one by law.

These devices are now mandated for first-time DUIs in most states in the US. If you have been told to use one as part of a sentence, the advice below will help you get started.

When you are finished, you will understand most of what you need to know about handling an ignition interlock device, including what to expect from a functioning device, how to take the test and what to do when the device locks out.  


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What to Expect from an Ignition Interlock Device

To handle an ignition interlock device, you should first understand what they are and how they operate.

Interlock devices are breathalyzers that have been installed into the circuitry of your vehicle. A part of the interlock will be attached to the starter in your engine, and the rest consists of a control device with a breathing tube that is located near the driver’s seat.

From the time that it is installed, you will not be able to operate your vehicle without taking a breathalyzer test.


How to Take a Test

The proper test procedure depends on the type of device you are using. However, the following steps are correct for most standard devices in the United States.

  1. Activate the device: Most devices shut off when the keys are not in. You will need to turn the key backward in the ignition to turn on the power system and allow the device to start.
  2. Wait for prompting, then breath into the tube: When the device is ready, it will prompt you to breathe into the tube. Depending on the model, you may be asked to exhale in one long breath or take several quick breaths.
  3. Await confirmation that you’ve passed: It may take several minutes for the device to complete the testing. You will know when you’ve passed because it will give you a confirmation.
  4. Start the vehicle: Once you’ve passed, you can turn the ignition and start the vehicle. This will happen unless the device is malfunctioning or if you fail the test and become locked out.


What to do in Case of a Lockout

You may become locked out of the interlock device for several reasons. If you believe the device is malfunctioning, you should contact the company that is managing your device and its data.

You can also be locked out if you fail the test. This may cause a temporary lockout that will not permit you to test again for a period of time. Take this time to have some water and no more alcohol. If you fail a second time you will be locked out for a longer period.

You can also be permanently locked out if you fail to have your device checked when scheduled. Your vehicle will not start at all in these cases until you have the vehicle towed to a service center.

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