Teen Driver in Your Family?An Ignition Interlock Might Be Just the Ticket

You might be aware that courts often mandate an ignition interlock device (IID) for a DUI offender. Ignition interlocks, sometimes called car breathalyzers, prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

A growing number of parents are installing interlocks on their own, out of love and concern. They cherish the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that their teens are always sober behind the wheel.

The teenage yeHelp new teen drivers stay safe by talking about distracted drivingars are difficult ones for parents as well as the kids themselves, and driving often adds tension to the mix. While the law states that a seventeen- or eighteen-year-old is able to drive, parents know that their teen is not always able to make smart choices. Blame the adolescent brain: it’s a complex instrument that takes many years to develop the judgment and impulse control it needs to make it through life successfully. In the meantime kids are faced with peer pressure, a search for status, and a need for thrills, all of which can lead to impaired driving and eventual tragedy.

But even if teens drink, with an ignition interlock, they won’t drive, because the driver must first breathe into a handset that is connected to the vehicle’s electrical system. If any alcohol is present on the breath, the vehicle won’t start. And if the teen driver passes the test, he or she must still be re-tested periodically, to ensure that no drinking has taken place after a sober start.

For DUI offenders, an ignition interlock means a chance to regain driving privileges legally and safely. For any parent of a teenager with a driver’s license, it means even more: automatic peace of mind.