Interlock Device – Definition and Purpose
14 September, 2023
An interlock device is equipment installed in a car’s engine, requiring the driver to provide a breath sample. A vehicle will only start if the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in the breath is zero or below the pre-set limit. The main purpose of this installation is to prevent people from driving while under the influence of alcohol. This device is a requirement for individuals with multiple drink driving charges and is mandatory every time they drive.
People may get an alcohol interlock condition in Australia if their alcohol content exceeds the legal limit during roadside testing. This is applicable for repeat or high-risk drink driving offences. Thus, it aims to minimise risky behaviours. However, this depends on the laws according to each state and territory. In this article, we will delve into the purpose of car interlocks, how they work, and other factors for consideration.
What is an Interlock Device?
An interlock device is a mechanism to prevent the operation of machinery until it fulfils specific criteria. It is common in vehicles to stop people from driving while intoxicated. A certified interlock supplier installs the device in the vehicle ignition system, prompting the driver to blow to the device to measure their blood alcohol levels.
A car interlock is part of state laws that require individuals with multiple DUI convictions to allow them to drive. Therefore, they can operate a vehicle under a limited license. Moreover, the device requires periodic recalibration or servicing by a licensed interlock provider. This helps to maintain the accuracy of the device and to download breath test reports for possible violations.
The device can be similar to portable breathalysers. However, they are temporary to a vehicle and are non-transferrable. Only the holder of the interlock license can perform a breath test and drive the car. Likewise, only certified personnel can remove the device after the interlock period.
Types of Devices
- Standard interlock ignition system: this device requires the user to blow into a breathalyser to measure the BAC before allowing a vehicle to start.
- Camera interlock system: this device has a built-in camera to capture the user while providing a breath sample. This helps prevent other people from blowing to the device to start the car.
- GPS interlock system: the device has GPS capabilities to track the vehicle’s location. It helps to monitor compliance with interlock program requirements.
- Touch interlock system: the device requires the user to touch a sensor or button before allowing the vehicle to start.
Purpose of an Interlock Device
The main purpose of alcohol interlock devices is to reduce drink driving incidents. It aims to separate drinking and driving, which is often a factor in road accidents. It is an added safety measure for individuals with high risks of intoxicated driving. Therefore, it deters risky behaviours on the road.
The court mandates an alcohol interlock order for habitual drunk drivers. The interlock order is set for a certain period, ranging from 6 to 12 months. The device can only be removed once the participant has completed the duration without further driving violations. However, for similar offences during the interlock program, the period may be extended.
The alcohol interlock program allows individuals with DUI convictions to regain their driving privileges. It promotes responsible alcohol consumption and driving. Furthermore, it may help them rebuild trust and accountability. Ultimately, it helps improve public safety. It serves as a safeguard for both the driver and other road users, reducing the risk of alcohol-related incidents.
Installing an ignition interlock provides several benefits. Firstly, it increases safety, ensuring the person is sober while operating a vehicle. Hence, it helps to prevent accidents. Secondly, it helps reduce recidivism or repeating the same offence. It serves as an early detection system for alcohol use and assists in monitoring compliance.
Additionally, it can be an effective tool in rehabilitating individuals with alcohol use disorder. Thus, it encourages the person to be more responsible and accountable. By proving they can drive sober for a continuous period, they may regain their driving privileges. Lastly, it aims to deter dangerous driving for good.
How an Interlock Device Works
An alcohol interlock device works by providing a sample of breath using a tube that is connected to the vehicle’s ignition system. The device uses sensor technology to measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. The car will start if the BAC is zero. However, if alcohol is detected, it will not activate the engine and will also record the result.
Consecutive failed results will temporarily lock the vehicle. It means that it can only start after a certain period of time. In other cases, it necessitates the driver to purchase a code to allow them to drive the car again. Furthermore, the device accompanies periodic retests while driving, which helps ensure sobriety during the trip.
During this time, the driver must retake the test to start the vehicle. In addition, some ignition interlocks are connected to a monitoring authority. It also keeps records of attempts at starting the engine. The device requires regular maintenance checks to ensure its accuracy. Once installed, only certified personnel can calibrate, service, or remove the device.
Licensing Requirements for a Device
Individuals under the alcohol interlock condition must apply for a limited license, allowing them to operate a vehicle. The requirements vary depending on the state or territory. Generally, individuals can apply for a probationary license after confirming their eligibility. This includes completing the disqualification period and passing any required tests.
Participants shoulder the expenses under the program. It includes the installation cost, monthly servicing, and other fees. However, a person may apply for financial assistance under certain conditions to help with interlock costs. At the end of the court-ordered interlock period, individuals may get an alcohol assessment to complete the program.
An interlock device is a mechanism fitted in a vehicle’s engine to prevent it from starting without zero blood alcohol content. Individuals with repeat drink driving offences get a probationary license, allowing them to drive under limited conditions. It includes completing the minimum interlock period without an additional violation. This aims to prevent individuals from driving with alcohol in their system. Likewise, it promotes responsible alcohol consumption and minimises the risk of impaired-related accidents.
The device works by measuring the BAC from the provided breath specimen for analysis. If it detects alcohol, the engine will not start. Moreover, it facilitates random breath tests during the trip to ensure the sobriety of the driver. Aside from getting an ignition interlock, high-risk driving includes maximum penalty and fines. Thus, it can be an effective deterrence from engaging in dangerous driving. Through the program, drivers can regain their driving privileges.