When you have an ailment that “takes your breath away,” like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), life can be pretty difficult. When you also have a drunk driving conviction and a car breathalyzer or an ignition interlock, you probably think you will not be able to fulfill your court order, or fill your lungs enough, to remain compliant. Fortunately, your physical health is not an issue for your ignition interlock; when submitting an ignition interlock breath sample to start your car and during the required rolling re-tests seems out of reach, you still have options. You just have to know who to ask.
Normally, an ignition interlock device is programmed to accept a certain amount of pressure in order for your test results to be considered accurate. This helps to keep people from using other sources of “air” for their test and get away with drunk driving, again. But, if you have asthma, COPD or any other health issue that could prevent you from breathing into the device at the required pressure, your device can be adjusted accordingly. However, in order to make that change happen, you will have to discuss your situation with your monitoring agency, your ignition interlock service provider, and have proof from your physician that you are unable to perform the breath test “as normal.” Keep in mind, as well, that your asthma inhaler could cause a failed test and to plan accordingly.
Unfortunately, if your breathing issue is temporary, you may not have the same allowances as a person with a chronic illness. A cold, bronchitis, pneumonia and the like, even if it is hard to breathe, will not hand you the same “benefit” as someone with asthma or COPD. Additionally, cough drops or cold and cough medications could set off your ignition interlock. In those cases, you are better off to have someone else drive you while you recuperate, and then continue your life once you can effectively prove you are sober when driving.