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5 Important Facts for a Successful Ignition Interlock Retest

Article updated 12/12/18

Ignition interlock devices have become one of the most effective ways to prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. Drivers must have a breath alcohol concentration within legal limits to start their vehicle.

Each state requires drivers to perform random retests to ensure they remain sober after they’ve provided their initial breath sample to start the vehicle. So, what is a random retest?

A random (also known as rolling) retest requires drivers to provide breath samples while the vehicle is running. They’re required with all state-certified ignition interlock devices.

These retests prevent drivers from:

  • Drinking once they’ve started their vehicle
  • Asking a friend to provide a breath sample to start the car if the driver has been drinking

What to expect

Retests happen at random intervals when you’re driving so that you can’t predict when you’ll have to provide a sample. The specific frequencies are determined by your state regulations, not the ignition interlock device provider. Here’s what will happen:

While you’re driving, your ignition interlock device will beep when you need to provide a breath sample. You have a few minutes (depending on state regulations) to provide the sample. Provide your breath sample as quickly and safely as possible.

When you’re ready, provide a breath sample by breathing into the device like you do to start the vehicle. With Intoxalock, it’s easy to provide the sample while keeping your eyes on the road.

If you are driving in bad weather conditions like snow or rain, you might feel more comfortable to pull over on the side of the road while you provide your sample. Because you have window of a few minutes, you should have plenty of time to find a good spot and submit your sample.

What happens if you don’t provide a passing sample?

If you miss or fail the random retest, a few things will happen:

  • If you fail or miss your test, your device may record a violation that will be submitted to your reporting agency. Depending on your state regulations, your lights and/or horn may activate, so your lights will flash and your horn will sound until you pull over and turn your vehicle off.
  • Your car will NOT turn off if you fail or miss the random retest. Once you have started the vehicle, it will run until you turn it off.

Upon installation of your ignition interlock device, the technician will review with you how to provide a sample and what to do when you’re required to perform a rolling retest. Once you have done it, the process is simple to perform. With the proper training, you device is easy to use.

In summary, here are 5 facts about ignition interlock device random retests:

  1. Your ignition interlock device will beep loudly when a retest is required. You have time to pull off to the side of the road if you do not feel comfortable taking the test while driving. Intoxalock allows the driver a six-minute window to submit a retest after the device prompts you to provide a breath sample.
  2. Random retests are required with all state certified ignition interlock devices. They are the most effective way to ensure that the person operating the vehicle remains sober for the duration of their trip. Retests have been instrumental in helping to keep drunk drivers off the roads.
  3. A missed or failed retest will not turn off your vehicle. If you fail to provide a passing breath sample, your ignition interlock device will record a violation and your car horn and/or lights may activate, prompting you to pull over and turn your vehicle off. Once your vehicle is started, an ignition interlock device is incapable of turning it off, for safety reasons.
  4. With Intoxalock’s single button activation, retests are safe and easy to execute. You can blow into the device when prompted to without taking your eyes off the road.
  5. Ignition interlocks save lives and safety is the most important factor to us. If you do not feel comfortable providing a retest while driving, Intoxalock will get you the additional training you need.

We’re in this together – Learning to use your interlock

When you get your ignition interlock installed, a certified technician will train you on operating your device. They will be there to answer any questions you may have. If you still do not feel comfortable operating your interlock, you can return to any installer for additional help.

Intoxalock representatives are available 24/7 to walk you through how to operate your device. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. With proper training, ignition interlock devices are extremely easy to operate and random retests are safe, effective ways to keep our roads safe.



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