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FAQs & Answers About Ignition Interlock Devices

Find answers to frequently asked questions about ignition interlocks devices. Intoxalock is an industry leading ignition interlock provider and has representatives available 24/7 to answer your questions. We offer customer support via web chat and by phone at 888-283-5899.

If you are an existing customer, download the Intoxalock Mobile App or log in to MyAccount to manage your Intoxalock account from start to finish. To watch videos on how to properly use ignition interlock devices, visit our how-to videos page.

Relax, we're here for you.

About the Basics of Ignition Interlock Devices

An ignition interlock device (IID) also known as an interlock system or BAIID, is a breathalyzer installed in your vehicle to prevent a driver from starting their car while intoxicated.

Drivers who have been convicted of a drunk driving charge in most states may be required to install a breathalyzer in order to legally resume driving abilities. The time when you need to install a legally mandated IID will depend upon your state regulations.

You can choose to install an ignition interlock device even if you haven’t been legally required to do so. Intoxalock offers special voluntary pricing to help protect you and your loved ones. IIDs have been used in alcohol treatment processes for accountability and peace of mind in avoiding dangerous outcomes.

To use an ignition interlock device, you will be required to blow into a mouthpiece prior to starting your car so the device can measure your Breath Alcohol Content (BrAC).

Ignition interlock devices are extremely effective in preventing repeat drunk driving offenses, they are the number one solution for real impacts and are supported by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. Strict ignition interlock laws have saved countless numbers of lives across the country.

Ignition interlocks must meet all of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) requirements and pass vigorous testing from any state they want to be an approved provider for. At Intoxalock, our devices pass even the toughest state’s regulations and we currently able to serve customers in all 50 states.

Before selecting an IID provider, you will want consider whether the provider is certified in your state, has convenient locations, has no history of suspensions or decertifications within your state, and has an easy-to-use device. Read more about why Intoxalock is an industry leading ignition interlock provider.

Installing an Ignition Interlock on a Vehicle

Once you’re at Intoxalock location, you can expect your IID installation appointment to last one to two hours — time varies based on the make, model and year of your vehicle. You can plan to either leave your vehicle or pick it up when installation is complete. Our Intoxalock installers are highly trained to quickly and carefully install your equipment.

You’ll want to find an interlock provider with locations near you as well as locations near any place you may travel during the time that you have a breathalyzer installed on your car. With Intoxalock, you get access to the most state certified installation locations nationwide over any other provider.

Many people wonder if they are able to drive their vehicle to their IID installation appointment. If your driving privileges have been suspended or revoked, you’ll need to have somebody with a valid license drive you to your installation appointment.

Whether an ignition interlock could damage a vehicle in some way is a very common concern. IIDs that are installed correctly should never do any damage to your vehicle. This is what it is important to choose an interlock provider that thoroughly trains their installers. At Intoxalock, each installer is trained and certified, and their work is held to high standards to protect your vehicle.

The paperwork you receive at your IID installation appointment will vary based on your state. You’ll receive a Certificate of Installation, a Pocket Guide and may receive a paper copy of your lease agreement. You can also log in to MyAccount to view your lease agreement, user’s manual and more at any time.

Your Intoxalock IID is not automatically protected in the event of theft, a traffic accident, or a natural disaster unless you have added the device protection to your account. Our comprehensive Device Protection Plan can be added to your account. In fact, we encourage all customers to add this protection because you never know when your vehicle and thus IID could be damaged and it can cost you thousands to replace the device and system. For under $10 per month, your device will be protected against natural disasters, theft, life’s unexpected accidents, and more.

We do not install ignition interlock devices on motorcycles. Most states limit drivers to drive an interlock-equipped car, truck, or van following a drunk driving conviction.

Using an Ignition Interlock Device

The method of submitting a breath sample you will use may vary depending on your state requirements. You will receive instruction on how to use your ignition interlock device at installation, but your state specialist can also help answer any questions you may have.

You will not be able to start your vehicle without first providing a clean breath sample. Your state law specifies the breath alcohol content (BrAC) level you must remain under and determines how many attempts you have to provide a passing sample into the device.

BrAC refers to your breath alcohol concentration. The BrAC detected by your IID must be under a limit set by your state (usually 0.02) before you’re allowed to start and operate your vehicle. Each state determines how many attempts you have at providing a passing sample. If you have questions about the legal limits in your state, you can contact an Intoxalock state specialist for help answering specific questions about state ignition interlock laws.

If you blow a positive sample and submit additional samples that are also positive, this is considered a failed breath test and your vehicle will not start. In some states, your interlock may enter a temporary lockout, preventing you from submitting another sample for a period of minutes. Once the temporary lockout 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 ignition interlock samples will cause your device to go into a service lockout. A service lockout means that your device will need further service before you can submit a new sample to start the car. Learn more about lockouts here. Remember that you are responsible for all samples submitted to the device, and all samples are reported to your state monitoring authority.

Yes, 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. Additionally, most states now use IID models that include cameras to verify the identity of the driver submitting the sample. Ignition interlock devices with cameras can provide proof on the part of the user if there are questionable results during a time when you were not driving your vehicle.

IIDs can only prevent your vehicle from starting and won’t ever turn your vehicle off. Once you have successfully passed a test and started your vehicle, a breathalyzer interlock cannot affect the operation of your vehicle. However, if you are operating your car and submit a breath sample that contains alcohol or you miss submitting a required retest, your device activate your horn and/or lights as determined by your state's regulations for these factors.

Any licensed driver may drive your vehicle as long as they activate and operate the ignition interlock device as required. 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. You can share our demonstration video with them to help them prepare for how to use the device properly as seen here. We also recommend that you keep an extra mouthpiece on hand for other drivers to use, or you can cleanse the mouthpiece between drivers with warm water and regular soap, and dry it thoroughly before using it again. You can get an extra mouthpiece from your service center.

Random retests are required by the state after you have started your vehicle and are driving down the road. A timer on your device will run, and then you will periodically need to submit a breath sample to ensure the absence of alcohol. Once your Intoxalock device indicates that you need to submit your retest, our drivers have a 6 minute window to provide the sample. This allows you to pull off the road to complete the breath sample if needed.

No, you should stay inside your car at all times once it has been started. Retests occur at random time frames and are required by the state. If you miss a retest, you could face consequences as determined by your state interlock compliance guidelines.

Maintaining your IID involves regularly cleaning and sanitizing the mouthpiece and device exterior with a disinfectant and regularly swapping out the mouthpiece. Find detailed instructions and best practices on how to properly clean and sanitize your IID in our hygiene and sanitation guide.

For more information on Intoxalock sanitation practices and what you can do to clean and sanitize your ignition interlock device, visit the Coronavirus FAQ page.

Troubleshooting Ignition Interlock Device Problems

Each state has rules about how many times you can submit a failing breath sample. In most cases, you will be temporarily locked out of your device for a set period of time after submitting too many failing samples. If this happens during too many startup attempts, your device will permanently go into lockout and will have to be towed at the user’s expense to a service center.

Intoxalock is a national company and has the largest service center network of any provider. Due to our nationwide locations 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.

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

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 restart your vehicle without submitting a breath sample as soon as the countdown appears. If your car won’t start, you’ll need to check the health of your battery by holding down device button for 5 seconds (learn about Intoxalock’s exclusive sleep mode feature to ensure you are conserving your battery properly - Sleep Mode is not available to customers in NY, MA and WI.) You can also test your car radio or lights to see if your battery is charged. If your battery health is good, contact our excellent customer support team to troubleshoot potential IID problems.

Sleep Mode is not available to customers in NY, MA and WI.

Ignition interlock devices are designed to detect bypassing and circumvention attempts by measuring unnatural or unusual air patterns. Attempting to bypass your ignition interlock device will lead to stiff penalties as determined by your state. Additionally, more states are requiring IIDs with camera functionality included which capture an image each time a breath sample is required to verify the identity of the user. These models make it so that attempts at bypassing a device would be sent to your state monitor and subsequent penalties enforced according to state law.

All ignition interlock devices are designed to detect any source of alcohol, including contaminants from household cleaners, personal hygiene products such as mouthwash, perfume, hair spray, or hand sanitizer, or even automotive products such as wiper fluid or air fresheners. It’s important to avoid using any of these products inside your car. Wait at least 15 minutes after eating or drinking anything before attempting to submit a breath sample. If you need to rinse your mouth after eating, you can use water or an alcohol-free mouthwash. Read more about submitting clean breath samples.

If you blow a failing breath sample and you believe it’s due to a contaminant, it’s important to continue providing samples until a clean one is registered to show the dissipation because all interlock providers hold you responsible to any BrAC reading, no matter the source. If you do have a positive BrAC reading from a contaminant, it will dissipate much faster than a reading due to the consumption of an alcoholic beverage. If you test positive for alcohol and believe it might be due to a contaminant, clear the air in your vehicle, rinse your mouth with water, and submit another breath sample.

Ignition Interlock Device Calibrations and Maintenance

calibration is a routine maintenance appointment for your ignition interlock device to download device data updates and ensure the device is measuring alcohol levels accurately.

Calibrations are required every 30-90 days, as determined by your state. In many states, Intoxalock IIDs are certified to go the longest period of time between calibrations.

Intoxalock device calibrations are done right at your service center and take just a few minutes. The service center technician unplugs your device and puts it on a calibration dock to run a series of quick tests. Your calibration appointment should take about 15 minutes. You can call your service center to find a convenient time to stop in. Find an ignition interlock service center location near you.

It’s important to calibrate your device on time to prevent lockouts or violations on your account. Calibrations are required by the state, not the interlock provider, so failure to comply may result in penalties from your state. If you do miss an appointment, reschedule as soon as possible to avoid becoming out of compliance and to keep your vehicle on the road.

Yes. 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. Prior to your appointment, report that maintenance is being performed on your vehicle and the date and time of your service appointment by logging into MyAccount. It's important to keep all receipts from the date of service to prove there was work being done to the vehicle.

Your ignition interlock device works in all temperatures and climates. By putting your device into sleep mode (an IID feature exclusive to Intoxalock devices), you can prevent your car battery from draining during any extremely cold temperatures. An Intoxalock tip for those cold weather months is to provide a few slow breaths directly into the handheld (without the mouthpiece) prior to pressing the black button to attempt an activation sample when starting your car. Doing this “warm-up breath” will help warm the device up before you try to use it to submit a sample and start the car. For more information on how to handle your ignition interlock in cold weather, check out more Intoxalock tricks and tips on cold weather care. (Sleep Mode is not available to customers in NY, MA and WI)

If you get a new vehicle, contact Customer Support to schedule a vehicle switch appointment with your service center. You’ll want to have all of the information for new vehicle including the VIN number, year/make/model, registered owner, color, and license plate information.

Ignition Interlock Pricing and Billing

The cost of an IID depends on the state you’re in, the type of vehicle you own, and any specific features of your car such as remote start. Generally, ignition interlocks cost between $60 and $90 a month. Intoxalock representatives regularly evaluate the market to ensure we’re providing a competitive price and the best value to customers. Customers have access to the best value with Intoxalock due to the largest service center network in the U.S., 24/7 customer support by web chat and phone, certified installation technicians, and more.

Intoxalock offers flexible payment options to help ease the financial burden that comes along with a drunk driving offense. You can choose to pay for your ignition interlock device monthly or bi-weekly.

Yes, payments can be mailed to Consumer Safety Technology, LLC, P.O. Box 8773, Carol Stream, IL 60197-8773. Please make sure to include the full customer name on the account and the Customer ID Number.

No, since you’re only required to have an ignition interlock installed for a set period of time, ignition interlocks are leased for a period of months with monthly payments, instead of purchased outright. If you happen to see an IID being offered for resale online it could possibly be a stolen device, and is definitely not approved for use in any state-approved provider's system and won't be recognized by your state.

You are able to set up automatic payments, as long as the debit or credit card has been set up on your 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.

Monitoring and Reporting

After your Intoxalock 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, they may have electronic notification set up upon your installation completion at the service center.

Depending on your state laws, the following could happen:

  • 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 of court
  • Face additional fines and/or jail time

Learn more about penalties for driving with a suspended license.

Each state, and many times, each monitoring authority, has their own requirements for what information is reported to them. Every report contains the time of day that a sample was submitted, the BrAC level of every breath sample, as well as the time of each requested sample and if it was missed, and any tampering evidence. Other things that may be reported are missed calibrations, periods of non–usage of the vehicle, and photo verification of driver identity.

Patterns of actions that serve to tamper or circumvent an ignition interlock device are recorded and reported to the monitoring authority. These attempts could affect your driving privileges, resulting in a longer time requirement for having the ignition interlock installed, and is considered a felony in many states.

Removing an Ignition Interlock Device

Any Intoxalock certified service center can remove your ignition interlock. You can schedule your removal appointment by calling Intoxalock's Customer Support department.

You will need to check with your monitoring authority, court, probation officer, or Department of Transportation to verify that you are eligible to remove your ignition interlock device. They should have some form of documentation showing your end date for the requiring the device.

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

Your next steps for this paperwork will depend on your state. Some states require you to provide these documents to your monitoring authority. In other states, the paperwork is for your records and does not need to be shared. You can contact Intoxalock via chat, email or phone, and we will be happy to answer questions related to your specific requirement.

After your IID 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 out your account.

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Our state specialists are ready to answer your questions and get you through the process, one step at a time.