The State House recently passed a bill requiring people with first-time drunk driving convictions to get ignition interlock devices if they want to continue driving. The ignition interlock device is already required for other drunk driving convictions. The bill goes to the Senate next for approval.
In this blog entry we’ll look at the details.
What exactly is an ignition interlock device?
An ignition interlock is a device that’s very much like a Breathalyzer. It’s installed in a vehicle to measure your alcohol consumption. If your vehicle has an ignition interlock, you need to take a breath test every time you want to drive. If the result indicates you have consumed more alcohol than a pre-programmed setting permits, the car won’t start. Sometimes the device is also programmed to require random breath samples while the car is being driven. If you’re required to take the breath test while driving, you’ll have about three minutes to pull over and blow into the device. If you don’t blow into the device on time, or if alcohol is detected, the incident is recorded by the device. Your vehicle’s horn will honk and the lights will flash until you turn off the car.
Results of the test are stored in the device’s memory. Typically you need to have the information downloaded every 30 to 60 days at an ignition interlock device installation facility.
If you remove the device, your driver’s license will be suspended until the device is reinstalled. If the device is tampered with, that may also result in a driver’s license suspension. If the downloaded test results indicate you’ve been drinking, you can be required to spend more time in the program.
The device typically costs between $50-$200 to install. Monthly rental fees are between $50-$100. The driver is also responsible for maintenance. The total cost per year is somewhere around $1300.
If you have a DUI or DWI conviction and you’re required to have an ignition interlock device, you need to have a device installed on every vehicle you drive, which includes a company car, although we can help you with an exception to this. Needless to say, this can become both expensive and embarrassing. Another disadvantage of these devices is that they’re not entirely reliable. The test results can reportedly sometimes be incorrect when the person being tested has been drinking coffee or eating chocolate or other things.
If you or a loved one are facing DWI charges in Texas, we can help. Please contact us today for more information!