How Ignition Interlocks Are Helping Both Offenders and the Public Alike
People have been searching for the answer for to curb drunk driving for years. Every day in the United States, 28 people die because of drunk driving and alcohol-related crashes cost us over $59 billion a year. Families are devastated and innocent lives are lost as a result of people getting behind the wheel while under the influence. What seems to be the most worrying is that many drivers who are arrested for drunk driving have done so many times before — and will continue to be repeat offenders. However, some states have started using ignition interlock devices — also often known as a car breathalyzer — to discourage driving while intoxicated or under the influence. Car breathalyzer prices are usually absorbed by the person who received the DUI, though there are often payment plans that can be worked out in court.
How Does an Ignition Interlock Device Work?
An ignition interlock device functions similarly to a breathalyzer, measuring how much alcohol is in your system. In short: if there’s a higher amount of alcohol in your system than permitted by the device (usually around 0.02 BAC), your ignition is locked, preventing you from driving.
To start, you blow into the device — if your breath is clear of alcohol, you can operate your vehicle as initially planned. However, if it senses alcohol, the ignition is locked for a few minutes, and you’ll have to wait before trying again. If alcohol is repeatedly detected, the wait time between testing again grows longer and longer.
There’s also rolling tests that you must complete over the course of your trip, to ensure that you don’t get behind the wheel, pass the test, and then start drinking. These are called rolling retests — if you fail one of these tests, the car will slow and you’ll be forced to pull over until you can pass the test correctly. The first rolling retest kicks in around five to 15 minutes after you start driving and then at random intervals thereafter.
What are the Benefits of Interlock Installation?
Ignition interlock devices set the habit for not drinking before getting behind the wheel of a car. If they start becoming mandatory in all vehicles, they’ll be set way below the legal limit of 0.08 — probably at around 0.03 or 0.04, to truly discourage drunk driving.
When they have been installed, there’s about a 70% reduction in arrest rates for driving while impaired and can help reduce repeat offenses by almost 40% — even after the device is uninstalled — compared to repeat offenders who were never required to install an interlock.
The interlock device also benefits those with DUI convictions — instead of preventing them from driving (which can reduce their ability to go to work, school, or perform other necessary errands), it simply ensures that their bad behavior while driving is limited. It’s a win-win for the offender and the public at large.
What Happens if I Can’t Afford Car Breathalyzer Prices?
Though car breathalyzer prices aren’t staggering, they can still be a burden for those who are already struggling financially. You can expect the average cost of a device to be between $70-$150 to install and between $60-80 a month for device monitoring and maintenance.
You may be able to seek financial assistance from your state, if you’re required to install an ignition interlock as part of your sentencing. You’ll need to produce records of your financial circumstances — and keep in mind that you may still be asked to bear some of the cost of purchase and installation.
The court system, your local DMV, or even an ignition interlock company may be able to tell you more about car breathalyzer prices and payment plans. If you’re worried about the costs, don’t be afraid to speak up and see what payment alternatives or routes you can take.
Ignition interlock devices can be helpful to not just the public, but also those convicted of DUI and DWI’s. It allows them to continue pursuing their work and schoolwork, but keeps them from continuing dangerous behavior.