Man Blames Crash on Ignition Interlock. We’re Not Buying It.

Police are used to hearing excuses when they arrest drivers for DUIs, hit-and-runs, and other violations on the road. But recently a Connecticut man tried to place the blame for his hit-and-run crash on an innocent bystander – an ignition interlock device.

For those who don’t know, an ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, is a device which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. It can be ordered by the court or the DMV, and one of these interlocks was on a Toyota Corolla when it swerved and struck first a road sign, and then another car. The driver then fled the crash scene.

The offender was soon caught. He blamed the ignition interlock device for the flash, stating that it was “beeping constantly.” While trying to get it to stop, he lost control of the car and crashed.

An Ignition Interlock Did Not Cause the Crash

Here’s how ignition interlocks work: when you first start your vehicle, you must first perform a breath test. If you pass, you can start the ignition and drive.

However, one concern of the courts is that a DUI offender might start the car, drive off, and then start drinking. To prevent that, the interlock device requires something called a rolling re-test. After a few minutes of driving the device signals that it’s time for a breath test, and the driver must breathe into the mouthpiece while driving.

The ignition interlock re-test is perfectly safe – no need to take one’s eyes off the road.

If the interlock in question was “beeping constantly,” then it was time for a re-test. The way to stop it is simply to breath into the mouthpiece. If the beeping continued, it was because the re-test was either ignored or failed. Either instance constitutes a violation of probation, which stipulates that a driver must abide by the conditions of the ignition interlock program. That means performing re-tests as required, and refraining from drinking and driving.

All over the country states are enacting laws which require that drunk drivers use ignition interlocks in order to regain their driving privileges. Every day thousands of convicted drunk drivers use ignition interlocks to drive legally and safely, alcohol-free. It’s a proven measure that has saved countless lives. If you’re trying to keep impaired drivers from behind the wheel, ignition interlocks are the way to go. If you’re trying to lay blame for hit-and-run crashes, look elsewhere.