Authorities in 37 states have authorized the installation of ignition interlock devices on vehicles that will be operated by persons convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. The device features a calibrated breathalyzer device conected to the ignition that will not allow the engine to start if the person blowing into the device has a certain level of alcohol in their blood.
In some jurisdictions, the device is a condition of probation on a first offense DUI conviction. Others only require the device on vehicles of repeat drunk driving offenders.
The devices follow specifications set by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Certifications have been issued by the NHTSA for devices built by 5 manufacturers, and most states that offer the probation programs that include the device require the NHTSA certification.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) promotes the use of the device as a condition of probation for anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated. Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Washington are the only states that mandate or provide strong incentives for ignition interlocks for all persons convicted of DUI. The group is pushing for changes to the laws in the other 42 states.
If you have been charged with DUI, as a condition of your release you may have to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.
Rental fees for the device and the cost of installation must be paid by the offender. Regular appointments, usually every 60 days, to recalibrate the device and download information stored in it must be kept. Failure to properly maintain the ignition interlock can be seen as a violation of your probation that could result in extension of the probationary period or jail time.