What Does My Ignition Interlock Really Cost? Less Than a Drink a Day.

People who are required to install an ignition interlock — as well as those who are considering installing one voluntarily for themselves or loved ones — are often concerned about the cost of the device. In fact, if you shop around and go with a reputable provider, it can cost surprisingly little to get back on the road safely and legally.

An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, is a device which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. Frequently the device is ordered by a court or DMV after a DUI conviction. However, an increasing number of people opt to have the device installed in order to safeguard themselves, their loved ones, or employees who drive company vehicles.

Normally, there is a fee to install the device, which will vary by state. Installation costs usually depend on the type of car. Hybrids and vehicles with pushbutton or remote starters generally have a higher installation fee, as their electrical systems are more complex.

Then there is the monthly fee for calibration — testing and adjusting the device for accuracy.  That fee is paid to the authorized service center.  Monitoring — sending data to courts or other authorities — and a monthly lease fee are paid to the ignition interlock provider. There may also be a de-installation fee at the end of your interlock period.

If you want to save money, watch out for hidden fees.  When you call providers to ask about their fees, make sure you ask about any administrative fees and how often they are charged.

To calculate the cost of your program, add up all the one time fees, multiple the lease fee by the length of your program and you will get a true number to compare across suppliers.  Generally, your ignition interlock should cost you around $3 a day. At LifeSafer, we encourage you to find room in your budget to drive legally.  The costs of driving with a suspended license or driving without an interlock when you are ordered to have one are very steep.  Install your interlock, make sure you attend all required calibration and monitoring appointments, keep track with your monitoring authority to make sure you are in compliance with your program.  All steps to make sure you drive safely and legally.