Interlock Alcohol Device: Purpose and Installation Process
17 October, 2023
An interlock alcohol device is a type of breathalyser installed in a vehicle. It connects to the ignition system and prevents a car from starting if it detects alcohol in the driver’s breath. The purpose of this device is to prevent and deter drink driving. It is mandatory for certain individuals with driving under the influence (DUI) convictions. Moreover, it requires an accredited alcohol interlock supplier to install the device in the vehicle.
Excessive alcohol consumption can put a driver at risk of causing an accident. It impairs judgment, perception, reaction time, and coordination, affecting the ability to control a vehicle. Therefore, the government implements strict laws regarding alcohol and driving. A person can get severe punishments, including an alcohol interlock program if they exceed the legal limit. In this article, we will delve into the purpose of the alcohol interlock device and the installation process.
Purpose and Significance of an Interlock Alcohol Device
The main purpose of an interlock alcohol device is to prevent drink driving. This device is a requirement for individuals with several DUI cases. It aims to reduce the instances of driving with alcohol in the system. The device requires a breath test to measure Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). If it detects alcohol in the breath sample, it will not start the car.
Preventing intoxicated driving helps reduce alcohol-related incidents or risks. Individuals under an alcohol interlock condition may take measures to ensure their sobriety. For example, they can limit their intake or choose not to drink at all. This can help develop healthier habits and improve safety practices.
Moreover, the significance of ignition interlock devices is to establish accountability. Successful completion of the alcohol interlock program period without further violations can help restore a person’s driving privileges. With this device, they can regain a full license. Overall, it has shown effectiveness in reducing dangerous driving behaviours than other measures, such as license withdrawal.
- Standard ignition interlock device: the most common type of in-car breathalyser. It requires a driver to blow into a tube to estimate the BAC. If the breath is above the pre-set limit, the vehicle will not start.
- Camera-based interlock device: ignition interlock devices with a camera for photo verification. It captures images or videos during the breath test to ensure the designated person is performing the test and not someone else.
- GPS-enabled interlock device: breathalyser with a global positioning system to track the location of the vehicle. It may also include features like real-time reporting and tampering alerts.
Installation Process of an Interlock Alcohol Device
The installation process of an interlock alcohol device may vary depending on the specific device. Generally, the person must register the vehicle with an accredited interlock provider. Then, the individual presents the related documents, including the vehicle details, and pays the installation costs and other fees. A licensed technician will install the interlock device.
A licensed technician will install the device in the registered vehicle. It involves connecting the alcohol interlock to the vehicle’s ignition system. This requires splicing into the wiring or using specific connectors. The interlock device is usually installed near the steering column or dashboard for easy access and visibility. Once connected, it needs to be calibrated and programmed to a certain pre-set alcohol limit.
The technician will also provide training on how to use the alcohol ignition interlock device. Hence, the individual will know the proper guidelines for alcohol breath testing. The installation process typically takes one hour to complete. Moreover, individuals can expect additional breath tests while driving the car and how to take it.
Individuals under an interlock condition should follow certain restrictions to prevent violations. The driver must provide a breath specimen every time they operate a motor vehicle. The sample must have zero blood alcohol reading to start the car. Furthermore, the driver must not commit other driving offences during the interlock period.
Moreover, drivers must not tamper or disconnect the device. If this happens, the interlock will detect it and disable the car from starting. It can also lead to penalties and legal complications. Lastly, they should not allow someone else to provide a breath sample for them.
Legality of Interlock Alcohol Devices
The legality of interlock alcohol devices in Australia varies from state to state. In general, a person convicted of drink driving offences gets an interlock condition as part of their sentence. The court will impose a minimum interlock period, which is usually 12 months or longer. Participants of the program must complete a full disqualification period before they can apply for a probationary license.
Under the interlock condition, the individual may drive with limited privileges. Violations may cause an extension of the alcohol interlock period. Additionally, individuals must send their vehicles with alcohol interlock to the service centre for monthly recalibration. The provider downloads the BAC results and readjusts the device to ensure accurate results.
The mandatory interlock program is imposed on middle to high-range drink driving cases. It also includes combined drink and drug driving offenders. In some cases, the court may grant an interlock exemption. Individuals must meet the criteria to be eligible. In addition, individuals must carry the exemption certificate every time they drive and present it when asked by a police officer.
Challenges and Limitations
One of the challenges of ignition interlock devices is the possibility of false positives or false negatives. The presence of alcohol vapour in the environment may interfere with the BAC readings. Inaccurate results may affect a person’s record, affecting their probationary period. Furthermore, the devices may malfunction, leading to a violation.
The high interlock costs can also be challenging for some individuals. Drivers are required to pay monthly fees and undergo regular recalibration, which can add to the financial burden. Delays or failing to take the vehicle for a monthly service on time may also incur penalty fees.
Interlock alcohol devices are an effective tool in preventing individuals from driving under the influence of alcohol. It is a type of breathalyser that is connected to a vehicle’s ignition system. If the device detects alcohol, the engine will not start. This condition is mandatory for those with repeat drink driving violations. Moreover, it requires certified interlock providers to install the device. Individuals should not attempt to tamper or disconnect the device.
Participants must follow the restrictions and regulations to exit the program successfully. They must also avoid any situations that may compromise their alcohol interlock records. By completing the program and demonstrating accountability, individuals may regain full driving privileges. Overall, the interlock order aims to minimise reckless driving behaviour associated with alcohol intoxication. It has shown significant improvements in reducing subsequent offences. Lastly, it promotes healthier alcohol consumption habits.