Man Tore Out Ignition Interlock. Which is Why He Had It.

disabling-an-ignition-interlockIf you look at the FAQ section on using an ignition interlock, you’ll find nothing about tearing the device out in drunken anger. That’s because doing that – or otherwise disabling an ignition interlock – is not encouraged by the manufacturer. The law isn’t crazy about it either.

When police responded to reports of a foofaraw near Bonney Lake, Washington, they found a man sitting in his Jeep Wrangler. He wasn’t driving, and for a good reason: the ignition interlock on his vehicle was torn out.

Who tore it out? The man didn’t remember. He’d drunk beer, had a few shots, and smoked a joint, all of which are legal in Washington State. He then got into his truck and apparently tried to start it, which is not.

Of course, the interlock would have prevented the Jeep from starting, as it was meant to. The devices are ordered for anyone convicted of drunk driving in the state. Apparently, this irked the driver, who must have ripped it out in a fit of pique.

News flash: when you rip out an ignition interlock, the engine still won’t start.

Disabling an Ignition Interlock: a Crime (and Impossible)

The man was booked on suspicion of tampering with an ignition interlock, which is a gross misdemeanor in Washington.

Most people who tamper do so to start a car even though they’ve been drinking. They think they can disable an ignition interlock and get on the road. What they don’t realize is that even if by some miracle they get the vehicle started, the interlock device registers the event as a start without a test. The data from the interlock is collected regularly and sent to monitoring authorities. They will see that the device was bypassed, and count it as a violation. The consequences can include imprisonment.

Ignition interlock devices are there to protect the public from drunk drivers. In this case, the interlock did its job even though it was torn out. One can imagine how dangerous someone drunk enough to do that would be on the road.

We salute this man’s ignition interlock, which gave its life to keep others safe. And we are glad that there are thousands more on the job every day, doing the same thing.