5 FAQs About Car Breathalyzers

09 Apr 2018

car breathalyzerYou may have heard of a car breathalyzer before, but maybe you are not sure how it works, why people need one, what to do if you have one, etc. You might even have more questions if you are the one who needs a car breathalyzer. Here are some frequently asked questions about car breathalyzers that should clear things up.

What is a car breathalyzer?

A car breathalyzer, otherwise known as an ignition interlock device, is a device that gets installed into the vehicle of someone who was convicted of a DUI/DWI. The device prevents the driver from starting the engine of the car after drinking alcohol. The driver blows into the device, and if it detects alcohol, the car will not start. The device will often ask for period retests even after the car has been started.

Are car breathalyzers actually effective?

The short answer is yes. Ignition interlock devices work very well at decreasing the number of drunk drivers on the road. In fact, once installed, interlocks are associated with roughly a 70% reduction in arrest rates for impaired drivers. With the goal of the interlock system being public safety and a decrease in impaired driving, it is relatively obvious that the device works.

What happens if the driver fails the test?

Sometimes, the driver of the car will blow into the breathalyzer and fail because their BAC was high enough to be detected. In that case, the interlock will temporarily shut down for a few minutes for the first failed test. If the driver fails again, the lockout period grows longer. A fail can happen even if the driver just used mouthwash and did not actually consume alcohol, so the lockout period allows time for the alcohol to dissipate.

Can someone else drive my car?

There is no problem with other people driving a car with an interlock device installed. However, they will need to blow into the device and be trained to use it properly. The owner of the car will still be responsible for any violations or test fails that show up on the device.

I submitted a sample, but my car still won’t start. Why?

As stated previously, the device may have detected alcohol in your breath from mouthwash or other common substances that contain alcohol. Rinse out your mouth and try again. If the device still will not work, it may be locked out or malfunctioning. At this point, you should call your service provider to have the device serviced and tested.

Most car breathalyzer regulations vary by state and/or the severity of the conviction. Remember that the device is installed to make you and other drivers safer. For more questions, give us a call today.

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