The Ignition Interlock Device is a drunk driving prevention mechanism. The device is a breath test device that is installed in automobiles. The Interlock Device is a handheld unit that is installed directly into the ignition system of the automobile. The Ignition Interlock Device is calibrated to detect a fixed breath alcohol level. Many Interlock Devices in Washington State are calibrated to detect a 0.02 or higher breath alcohol reading.
The driver must provide a breath sample for the Ignition Interlock before the automobile will start. If the device detects a breath alcohol reading of 0.02 or higher the vehicle will not start. Many people believe a sober friend can provide the first breath sample and the intoxicated driver then can proceed on their way. However, the Ignition Interlock Device requires continued breath samples while operating the vehicle. A sample might be required five minutes into the drive or any random interval set by the Ignition Interlock Device provider. If the device detects an alcohol reading while the vehicle is in motion the machine will sound a warning. This warning alerts the driver to pull the vehicle over before the vehicle comes to a stop.
Interlock Device DUI Penalty
Anyone convicted of DUI in Washington State will be REQUIRED to install an Interlock in their vehicle for at least one year. This is mandated by the mandatory minimum DUI Penalty schedule. The Department of Licensing will require the Interlock if a driver loses their civil administrative license suspension hearing and then applies for a Temporary Restricted License.
These alcohol detecting devices are required for at least one year for a first time offender. The second time an individual is required to install the device the length of mandatory time is extended to five years. A third request by the court to install an Interlock requires ten years.
Ignition Interlock Device Costs & Expense
Interlock Devices can be costly. Many providers charge $50.00 to $100.00 for installation. Since the device is required because of a DUI conviction, the provider must monitor the driver’s activity and provide alarming reports to the sentencing court. The device stores all breath activity which is then downloaded monthly by the provider. If there are readings of 0.02 or higher the Interlock provider, in most cases, will alert the court. At that point the court can impose additional probation violation sanctions. Such sanctions can include additional jail and fines.
The monthly Ignition Interlock Device monitoring can cost $50.00 to $100.00 a month.
Support Interlock Devices as Standard Vehicle Equipment
The State of New Mexico passed a law, a few years ago, requiring every vehicle registered in their state must have an Ignition Interlock Device installed by a certain year in the near future. In November of 2006, MADD lobbied Washington D.C. to pass such a law nationwide. We supports such a measure and further information may be found at our DUI Blog.