Jun 29

T -2 Days: What is Ignition Interlock?

An ignition interlock is breath-testing device that is attached to the ignition system of your vehicle. When you go to start your car, the engine will not turn over and start until you have provided a breath sample to the alcohol testing unit that is below .02 Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC). A .02 BAC

is 1/4 of the legal limit.

If a test sample is below .02, the vehicle will be able to start. If the test sample is above .02, the vehicle will not start.

Once the vehicle is started, the ignition interlock will request that the driver randomly take alcohol tests to show that they are not drinking.When the interlock requests a test, the driver has 6 minutes to find a good place to take that “rolling  re-test”.

New to Minnesota’s Ignition Interlock Program is the requirement that all ignition interlock installations after July 1, 2011 must be installed with a camera. The purpose of the camera is 2-fold: it helps the State prove who violated the interlock if there were a positive test, and helps a driver prove their innocence if someone (friend, family member or other person) blew alcohol into their interlock device. Not only do all new installations need the camera, but all interlock clients who were installed before July 1 must have a camera installed by September 1, 2011.

Drivers who elect to enter into Minnesota’s Ignition Interlock Program will receive a substantial benefit over those who elect not to. Most drivers who will be effected by these changes are drivers who’s driving privileges have be “revoked” by the State of Minnesota, meaning that they have lost their driving privileges for a finite period of time, ranging from 1 – 2 years. These drivers will qualify for ignition interlock immediately, and could be driving validly within days of arrest. Additionally, those revoked drivers will have full driving privileges, without any type of restriction on where or when they drive, outside of the requirement that they only operate a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock.

Drivers who are have multiple DUI’s may be cancelled by the State of Minnesota. “Cancelled” means that the driver must prove to the State that they have be rehabilitated from their abuse of alcohol. Cancelled drivers also may be eligible immediately for the Ignition Interlock Program, but as a practical matter, have a greater number of steps that they must accomplish before being given driving privileges. Once approved for the ignition Interlock Program, cancelled drivers are entitled to a work permit until they can show 1 year of sobriety. The limited license provides the driver with up to 60 hours of driving per week for work, plus the ability to drive to treatment, aftercare, AA or support meetings and child care pickup and drop-off.

In tomorrow’s post, I will discuss the procedure for obtaining ignition interlock.