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5 Tips for a Successful Ignition Interlock Retest

Article updated 9/10/2020

Why Do Ignition Interlocks Require Random Retests?

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

If a driver provides a sample above the legal limit, they won’t be able to start their vehicle. Additionally, 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. If a driver fails this test, the failure is recorded. 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 Happens During a Random IID Retest?

IID retests are random and can happen at any time throughout your trip. The frequency of testing is determined by state regulations, and is randomized so you can’t predict when you’ll need to provide a sample. Here’s how they work:

Your IID will beep: While you’re driving, your ignition interlock device will beep when you need to provide a breath sample. There is a time delay of several minutes to give you time to pull over if you need to for your safety. The tests can be done while driving as well. You have a few minutes (depending on state regulations) to provide the sample. Provide your breath sample as quickly and safely as possible.

Blow-inhale-blow: Provide your ignition interlock device breath sample using the same blow-inhale-blow method you used when starting the car. With Intoxalock, it’s easy to provide the sample while keeping your eyes on the road. Remember, you can pull over: Many drivers are nervous about missing retests, but the extra time is for your safety so use it if you need to! If you are driving in bad weather conditions like snow or rain, it’s best to pull over to provide your sample. The window of time should allow you to find a safe spot to submit your sample.

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

Random retests are intended to prevent drivers from continuing to drive if their breath alcohol concentration is over the legal limit. If you miss or fail the random retest, a few things will happen:

  • Violation is recorded: 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 won’t shut 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.

What Else Should I Know About Ignition Interlock Retests?

When you are at the appointment for the installation of your ignition interlock device, the technician will review with you how to provide a sample for a normal test and a rolling retest. Once you have done it, the process is simple to perform.

Retests are a common stressor for IID users, but they don’t have to be. Remember these 5 facts about retesting if you’re ever concerned.

  1. Retests are always announced: Your ignition interlock device will beep loudly when a retest is required. You have up to 6 minutes of extra time to pull off to the side of the road if you do not feel comfortable taking the test while driving.
  2. Retests are required: They’re not a punishment or a sign that you’ve done something wrong. 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.
  3. Retests will NEVER turn off your vehicle: A missed or failed ignition interlock 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. Retests are easy to complete: 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. Additional training is available: 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.

Expert Help in Using Your Ignition Interlock Device

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.

For more information about an Intoxalock ignition interlock device, call our state specialists at (833) 623-0200.



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