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Ignition interlock device questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about ignition interlocks devices.

What is an ignition interlock device?

What is an ignition interlock device (IID)?

An ignition interlock device is a car breathalyzer designed to prevent anyone under the influence from driving the vehicle. It requires a breath sample to be submitted below a pre-set state limit before it will allow the driver to start the vehicle. If the breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) is above the pre-set limit, the vehicle will not start. Ignition interlocks are also referenced as breath alcohol ignition interlock devices (BAIIDs)

Do ignition interlocks reduce recidivism rates (repeat offenses)?

Ignition interlock devices decrease the re-arrest rate by up to 67%. They also allow people to be responsible and productive in their lives after a DUI by allowing them to drive legally and safely.

Are ignition interlock devices held to any quality standards?

Yes, the Intoxalock as well as all ignition interlock devices must meet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) requirements and pass vigorous testing from any state they want to be an approved provider in. Intoxalock passes or surpasses all requirements and has done so in the 40 states where we are an approved vendor. In addition, we have a technical assistance staff available 24/7 to help with any Intoxalock device issues and assure that our customer experience is positive with no problems or unresolved complaints.

Do you have a voluntary program?

Yes, if you have not been required by a court order or as a condition of regaining your driving privilege, but want to protect yourself or your loved one from the hazards of drunk driving with a voluntary program, we can help you. You will be able to set the configurations for the device to fit your lifestyle while you're driving responsibly.

Installing an ignition interlock device

How long does it take to install an Intoxalock?

Most ignition interlock installations take less than an hour. However, depending on your vehicle, the appointment may take longer.

What paperwork should I receive at my installation appointment?

The paperwork you receive at your installation appointment will vary based on the state that's requiring you to install the interlock. At the very least, all customers will receive a Certificate of Installation and a Pocket Guide.

If no email has been provided during the setup of your Intoxalock account, you will also receive a copy of your lease agreement, as well as your state's User's Manual.

If an email was provided during the setup of your Intoxalock, an email is sent to let you know how to set-up an account at By visiting our "My Account" section at, you can view your lease agreement, your state's User's Manual, watch several user's videos & more!

Are ignition interlock devices held to any quality standards?

If you receive any state paperwork (documents other than a lease agreement, Certificate of Installation or User's Manual), you will need to take it to your monitoring authority (i.e.: Probation Officer, Court, DMV, DOT, etc.). Some states will also require you to provide a copy of your Certificate of Installation to your monitoring authority.

Your lease agreement will need to be mailed to Intoxalock: 11035 Aurora Avenue, Des Moines, IA. 50322.

Will an Intoxalock damage my vehicle?

An Intoxalock ignition interlock device will not damage your vehicle. Intoxalock partners with installation locations across the country who are experts in working with a vehicle's electrical system. Our service center network is supported by our in-house experts who are continuously working with new vehicles to ensure we are able to install safely in any type of vehicle.

Can an ignition interlock be installed on a motorcycle?

Because of the potential dangers involved, we do not install ignition interlock devices on motorcycles.

Why do you need my email?

There is a lot of important information that we provide you via email; shipment notification, calibration notification, account information, etc. We will not sell or share your email and you will only receive information regarding your Intoxalock ignition interlock device.

Starting my car with an ignition interlock device

How do I give a breath sample?

There are two methods of submitting a breath sample depending on your states requirement. The most common is a simple blow/inhale/blow method that is like powerful breathing. The other is a straight blow method that requires a more forceful breath.

Can I start my vehicle without taking a test?

No, you must provide a passing breath sample before your vehicle is allowed to start. Any tampering or attempted circumvention is recorded. This could affect your driving privileges and require you to keep your ignition interlock device installed longer. In many states, tampering with your interlock device may be considered a felony.

What is a BrAC reading and what does it mean if I get one?

The Intoxalock is designed to test your BrAC, or Breath Alcohol Content. It will detect anything that contains an alcohol molecule. If the Intoxalock device displays anything other than 0.00, this is an indication that an alcohol molecule has been detected. Any BrAC readings may be reported to your monitoring authority.

Please review the last page of your lease and User's Manual for additional information

What happens if I fail the breath test when I am trying to start my car?

If you fail a breath test, your vehicle will not start. In some states, your Intoxalock may enter into a temporary lock out, preventing you from submitting another sample for a few minutes. Once the temporary lock out is over, you will be able to submit another sample. Once you pass the test, you will be able to start your vehicle. In many states, too many failed attempts to start your vehicle will cause your device to go into a service lockout.

If someone else blows into my Intoxalock who is intoxicated? Am I held responsible?

You are responsible for every sample blown into your Intoxalock. However, we do recommend that you keep a log of when anyone else drives or attempts to submit a breath sample in your vehicle.

Driving with an ignition interlock device

Can an ignition interlock device shut my vehicle off?

No, Intoxalock ignition interlock devices can only prevent your vehicle from starting. Once you have successfully passed a test and started your vehicle, the Intoxalock cannot affect the operation of your vehicle. It can, however, activate your horn and/or lights should a test be missed or failed as determined by your state's regulations.

Can other people operate my vehicle?

Any licensed driver may drive your vehicle. They will, however, have to submit a breath sample to start your car and randomly while they drive just like you. We strongly suggest that you keep record of who drives your vehicle and when as you will be responsible for all of the information on the data log regardless of who was driving. Whoever is driving must take the test. It can be considered a felony if anyone other than the driver provides a breath sample.

What is a rolling retest?

State regulation requires drivers to periodically submit additional breath samples while they drive to prove the continued absence of alcohol. Generally, within 4-8 minutes of starting your vehicle, the Intoxalock will ask for another breath sample. Then every 5-55 minutes, depending on your state's regulation, you will be asked for additional samples. If you do not feel comfortable providing the sample while you drive, Intoxalock will give you time to pull over. It is your responsibility to take each test as soon as you safely can.

Can I leave my car running if I'm not in it?

No, it is impossible to know when a rolling retest will be requested. If the test is not taken within a timely manner, it can be considered a refusal and your device may enter into a lock out.

Are there other sources of alcohol that an Intoxalock device could read?

Yes, there are many products that are alcohol based. However, contaminant alcohol quickly dissipates. Because of this, we strongly encourage you to continue providing samples to show the pattern of dissipation. We advise you to wait 10-15 minutes after eating and drinking anything other than water, or using any product that contains alcohol. If you do not, you run the risk of the Intoxalock returning a BrAC reading. A contaminant reading is NOT a false positive. You will be held responsible for all BrAC readings regardless of the source.

Problems operating an ignition interlock device

What if I am out of state and experience problems with my unit?

Because Intoxalock is a national company and has the largest installation center network of any provider, we can help you in any state. We would caution you to check with your monitoring authority to make sure you are allowed to drive out of state. You should also verify with the state you will be going to, to make sure they will recognize your restricted license.

What is a lock out?

A lock out is a state mandated function that will not allow you to start your vehicle. Depending on state requirements, lock outs can be caused by blowing a BrAC that is above the state specific limit, blowing too many high BrAC's, failing to submit a breath sample or trying to tamper with or circumvent your ignition interlock device.

What do I do if my vehicle stalls?

If your vehicle stalls, turn your key off. Within 2-4 seconds, your Intoxalock will recognize that your vehicle is off and start a 1-3 minute countdown. You may try to re-start your vehicle without submitting a breath sample as soon as the countdown appears.

What do I do if my vehicle won't start?

There are a variety of troubleshooting steps that can be taken if your vehicle will not start. To begin diagnosing what may be causing the issue, you should always check the health of your battery to assure that you have enough power to operate the vehicle. Battery voltage can be checked by pressing and holding the button on your device for five seconds. You can also test your battery by simply verifying the state of your vehicle's accessories (i.e.: lights & radio).

If the battery is charged and the vehicle is not starting, please contact your Intoxalock Service Center or Intoxalock Customer Service for further troubleshooting steps.

NOTE: to provide the most effective troubleshooting, it is important to contact a Service Center or Customer Service while you are with your vehicle.

Maintaining an ignition interlock device

Can I have work done on my vehicle if I have an ignition interlock device installed?

If you need to have work done on your vehicle when you have an ignition interlock device installed, make sure the mechanic knows about the device. It's important to keep all receipts from the date of service to prove there was work being done to the vehicle. In addition, report that maintenance is being performed on your vehicle by logging into your My Account section at, and clicking "Report Maintenance". You may also email with the information. As soon as the maintenance is complete, please again report such within My Account or email As long as you report your vehicle maintenance before and after the work has been done, any violations caused by the service center will be reported as being in vehicle maintenance.

NOTE: there is no bypassing or "turning the equipment off" while maintenance is being done. Your service provider will need to give samples just as you would to start the vehicle.

How do I use my ignition interlock device in cold weather?

Your ignition interlock device works in all temperatures and climates. By putting your device into sleep mode, you can prevent your car battery from draining in colder temperatures. It's also important to provide a few slow breaths directly into the handheld (without the mouthpiece) prior to pressing the black button to attempt an activation sample. Keeping your handheld insulated with an Intoxalock Sleeve purchased in My Account will also help to reduce the warm-up time for your device.

What do I need to do with my ignition interlock device if I get a new car?

If you get a new vehicle, contact Customer Service to schedule a vehicle switch appointment with your service center. Prior to doing so, you should check with your monitoring authority to confirm there isn't any paperwork or approval needed, prior to scheduling your appointment. To ensure you are prepared when contacting Intoxalock, please have the following pieces of information ready for the new vehicle: VIN number, year/make/model, registered owner, color & plate information.

Please chat with a representative at and we will schedule the appointment for you, upon receipt of the new vehicle information (and authorization, as required by the state).

NOTE: be prepared to have both the current vehicle and the new vehicle at the Service Center for your Vehicle Switch appointment.

Ignition interlock device pricing and billing

How much does an Intoxalock cost?

The cost of Intoxalock ignition interlock device starts at as little as $2 per day. The cost will vary depending on the features you are required to have and how long you need to have the device installed for. Find more comprehensive information on our ignition interlock pricing page. You can also call (888) 283-5899 and ask one of our state experts if there are any discounts being offered in your area. Intoxalock representatives are trained to help you find the best price available to you.

Can I mail my payment if I don't have a credit card?

Yes, you may mail a payment to Consumer Safety Technology, LLC, PO Box 8773, Carol Stream, IL 60197-8773. Please make sure to include the name on the account and your customer ID#.

Can I buy an ignition interlock device?

No, you cannot purchase an Intoxalock or any other ignition interlock device that meets state safety standards. This can work to your benefit as we will take care of all of the maintenance and most of the repairs.

Can I make automatic payments from a checking or savings account?

You are able to make automatic payments, as long as a debit or credit card is being used in association with the account. If no debit or credit card is available, we unfortunately cannot schedule automatic withdrawals by transfer of funds. We can, however, accept one-time payments using a checking or savings account.

Can I change my auto-pay billing date?

Unfortunately, Intoxalock is unable to alter the date in which your payment is due. Your installation date will determine the monthly day for automatic payment withdrawals. For example, if you installed the equipment on the 4th of the month, your payments will be due on the 4th of every month thereafter.

To stop my automatic payments – how do I change my payment method?

If you would like to discontinue the auto-pay option through Intoxalock, you should contact Intoxalock by chatting with a representative on OR emailing us at There will be a deposit, equal to the monthly lease fee, applied to the account. This deposit is refundable upon removal (and receipt) of the Intoxalock equipment.


What is a calibration?

A calibration is the process of exchanging one device for another in order to download the data logs and make sure each unit is correctly programed.

Who determines how often I have to have a calibration done?

Your calibration length is determined by your state or the monitoring authority requiring the ignition interlock.

How is a calibration done?

In some states, we will automatically send your calibration to the address you specified. You will simply exchange the devices and send the expiring device back to Intoxalock. We will send a pre-paid mailing label to any customer with a lease longer than four months. In other states, you may be required to return to your service center for your calibration and a quick visual inspection.

How long does a calibration take?

The actual process generally takes less than 15 minutes, however, if you do not schedule an appointment with your service center, you may have to wait for them to work you into their schedule. Check with your service center to find their preference on scheduling calibration appointments.

What happens if I miss my required calibration appointment?

Timely completion of your state-required calibration is a critical component of maintaining an Intoxalock. Failure to do so may result in reporting to your monitoring authority. Furthermore, if the device is not serviced prior to the calibration countdown expiring on your handheld, your vehicle will not start and the unit will display, "NOT SERVICED IN TIME." Should this occur, you may incur additional fees from needing your vehicle to be towed to the Service Center or from requiring a mobile installer to come to you (where applicable).

Monitoring and Reporting

How does my monitoring authority know that I have an Intoxalock installed?

After your installation is complete, you will be given a Certificate of Installation. In many states, you are required to provide this document to your monitoring authority for review. In other states, we will electronically notify your state of the installation. We will let you know your states requirements when we schedule your installation.

What happens if I do not comply with an IID order?

Depending on your states regulations, you:

  • May not be allowed to regain your unrestricted driving privileges until you have completed your ignition interlock requirements
  • Have your ignition interlock restriction extended
  • Be held in contempt
  • Face additional fines and/or jail time


What is going to be reported to the state or my monitoring authority?

Each state, and many times, each monitoring authority has their own requirements for what is reported to them. Every report contains the time and BrAC level of every breath sample, as well as the time of each requested sample even if it wasn't taken and any tampering that might have occurred. Other things that may be reported are missed calibrations, non–usage or photo verification.

What happens if the offender attempts to circumvent, disconnect or tamper with the IID?

Any tampering or attempted circumvention is recorded. This could affect your driving privileges, require a longer time with an ignition interlock installed or in many states, be considered a felony.

How will it be reported that my device is installed?

Reporting of the installation varies and is based upon your state. In many cases, the Intoxalock Compliance Department will notify your monitoring authority within 24 – 48 hours of your installation. In others, you will be required to provide a copy of the "Certificate of Installation" to your monitoring authority (i.e.: Probation Officer, Court, DMV, DOT, etc.).

Removing an ignition interlock device

Does my lease-end date represent my eligibility date for removal?

It does not. If you believe that you are eligible to remove the device, we encourage you to reach out to your monitoring authority to confirm your eligibility date. Based on your state regulations, we may need documentation of your eligibility to remove. An Intoxalock representative will be able to provide you with removal details once you've obtained eligibility information from your monitoring authority (i.e.: Probation Officer, Court, DMV, DOT, etc.).

Who can remove my equipment?

Any Intoxalock certified service center can remove your device. You will schedule your removal appointment through Intoxalock's Customer Service department.

How do I know when I can remove my equipment?

The only way to confirm you are eligible to remove the device is to check with your monitoring authority.

What do I do with the paperwork I receive at the service center during removal?

This will vary, based upon your state. Many times, that paperwork may need to be provided to your monitoring authority. In other states, the paperwork is for your records and does not need to be shared. Please feel free to contact Intoxalock via chat, email or phone and we will be happy to answer questions related to your specific requirement.

What paperwork should I receive at the service center when I get my device removed?

You will receive a Certificate of De-Installation confirming you have had the device removed by an authorized service center.

How do I close my account?

After the device has been removed, you will need to call and speak to the Recovery Department to close your account. If you received equipment shipped directly to your home, please make sure that you return the equipment immediately following removal, and then contact Intoxalock to fully close your account.

My device was removed but I still have the Intoxalock equipment – what do I do with it?

You will be required to return the device. You may use your preferred shipping provider; simply make sure to obtain a tracking number in association with the shipment. It is also strongly recommended that you obtain carrier insurance, due to the value of the equipment. Should Intoxalock fail to receive the equipment assigned to your account, you will be responsible for the replacement cost. You will need to ship the device back to: 11085 Aurora Avenue, Des Moines, IA. 50322.

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