The ignition interlock system is connected to a vehicles starter system. The ignition interlock system can be set anywhere from .00% BAC to slightly higher levels, but typically not above .04% BAC.
It works by measuring the BAC or blood alcohol concentration also referred to as BAL or blood alcohol level of the vehicle's driver before and during the operation of said vehicle.
If the blood alcohol concentration registered by the ignition interlock system is higher than the preprogrammed level that was set by the company that installed the ignition interlock system, the vehicle will not start. The courts in each state determine the programmed level that will be set by the company performing the installation. Typically this level will be between .02% and .04% depending on the state law.
Also at random intervals while the vehicle is in operation, the ignition interlock system will require breath samples from the vehicle operator in order for the vehicle to continue.
Ignition Interlock System Pro's & Con's
An ignition interlock system has its proponents and opponents. Groups like MADD support the use of an ignition interlock system saying that the use of an ignition interlock system has proven to be up to 90% effective in the prevention of drunk driving.
While opponents of ignition interlock system say that test results show the devices have numerous flaws and are not effective in reducing DUI or drunk driving incidents for first-time offenders.
Pros and Cons (con't)
One major flaw of an ignition interlock system is that items such as mouthwash will cause a vehicle not to start. Imagine you're ready to leave for work in the morning and go out to start your vehicle, but it won't start because it registered a BAC above the preset limit. What could cause a situation like this? Mouthwashes that most people use in the morning contain alcohol.
An ignition interlock system was originally implemented to prevent those who were considered hardcore alcoholics from drinking and driving after having been convicted.
Ignition Interlock System Costs
The overall cost of installation, calibration and scheduled maintenance is the responsibility of the offender. An ignition interlock device will cost around $75 per month and a couple hundred dollars to be installed. Some states have programs that will subsidize the monthly cost if the offender can prove that they do not have the financial means to pay the monthly charges.
State Ignition Interlock Law
Ignition interlock is mandatory for all offenders in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Louisiana and Illinois.
An ignition interlock is mandatory for all offenders who reinstate their license in the state of Oregon.
An ignition interlock is mandatory for all high BAC and repeat offenders in the following states: Hawaii, Florida, Kansas, Virginia, West Virginia and New Hampshire.
An ignition interlock system is required for certain offenders in the following states: California, Idaho, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland.
A ignition interlock system is allowed, but not required in the following states: Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.
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