Demystifying Ignition Interlock Devices

This week we are going to demystify some of the top objections surrounding ignition interlock devices with the top ten myths we hear from our clients most often.

1.       Ignition interlock devices are not accurate.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established standards for all ignition interlock devices. Independent laboratories test the devices to ensure they meet NHTSA’s strict requirements.  All interlock devices must be approved by the NHTSA and are calibrated for accuracy.

LifeSafer Ignition Interlock is the most widely used interlock device in the United States today.  It has been in use since 1998 and has been used by over 600,000 people.   LifeSafer’s ignition interlocks use alcohol-specific fuel cells and are regularly calibrated throughout each person’s interlock program to guarantee accuracy.

2.       Ignition interlock devices are expensive.

The average installation cost of an ignition interlock is $75, with costs of approximately $2.50 per day. The cost is a small price to pay for the privilege to continue to drive. In addition, the cost of riding the bus, taking cabs – or another DUI – can be much more expensive than the privilege of getting to drive to meet your responsibilities.

LifeSafer FC100 Ignition Interlock3.       Am I expected to take breath tests while I’m driving?

No, when the interlock device signals for a running retest, you have a few minutes to provide the sample or to pull over to the side of the road in a safe area to provide the breath sample. There are no buttons to push; you must only breathe into the unit to complete a breath sample.

4.       An ignition interlock device will drain the battery on my vehicle.

The ignition interlock device will not drain the battery. It pulls a minimal amount of power from the battery to warm up prior to testing.  Actually, you can drain your battery a lot quicker by leaving your headlights turned on.

5.       My car is a family car and my wife also drives it. Now she won’t have a car to drive.

Other licensed drivers are still allowed to drive your vehicle.  Anyone driving your vehicle will need to use the interlock and you will be responsible for any violations. LifeSafer service providers will train other users of the vehicle at no additional charge.

6.       Mouthwash will cause me to fail a test.

If you do not allow enough time for the alcohol in your mouthwash to dissipate from your mouth prior to testing, you will fail the test. Mouthwash and sprays usually contain up to 30% alcohol and will definitely react as alcohol in all ignition interlock devices. Non-alcohol mouthwash is available and all ignition interlock users should use this mouthwash.  LifeSafer clients are always instructed to rinse their mouths out with water before testing to help remove any mouth alcohol.

7.       The interlock device can turn off my engine while I am driving.

The interlock will never turn off a running vehicle.  It is only wired to prevent the vehicle from starting if you fail a test.   Depending on the jurisdiction it may honk the horn, sound an alarm, or flash the lights if a retest is failed until the driver turns the vehicle off or passes a test.

8.       Ignition Interlock devices violate my constitutional rights.

Driving has been interpreted by the courts in the United States as a privilege, not a right. There are a variety of ways to lose that privilege, including being arrested for DUI / DWI.  The intent of the legislation is to allow you to safely and legally regain that privilege, in lieu of suspension, through the use of an ignition interlock device.  Being able to drive makes it easy for you to meet your professional and family obligations.

9.       I have asthma and can’t take deep breaths.

If you can’t take deep breaths, you should still be able to use an ignition interlock device. The amount of pressure needed for each breath on your device can be lowered if you have asthma or other breathing issues.  This usually requires approval of the jurisdiction and information provided by your physician.  Check with your service provider or monitoring authority for more information.

10.   An ignition interlock will ruin the resale value of my vehicle.

LifeSafer service providers are experienced in vehicle wiring. They will professionally install the ignition interlock  device.  When the device is removed, your vehicle’s wiring will be securely restored.  No installation or removal will affect the resale value of your vehicle.

For additional information on ignition interlock devices, please visit