Car breathalyzers, also known as ignition interlocks, are the most effective way to deter drunk drivers from operating a vehicle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car breathalyzers reduce recidivism for DUI by 67%. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) further reports that states that require the device for all convicted drunk drivers have seen a 30% to over 40% decrease in DUI fatalities. So just how do these life-saving tools work?
A small, handheld device that’s wired into your vehicle’s ignition, a car breathalyzer prevents your car from starting if it detects a certain amount of alcohol on your breath. Whether you’ve installed the device voluntarily or are required to install it as part of your DUI sentencing, here’s a step-by-step look of what to expect every time you get into your car:
- Before starting your vehicle, you must blow approximately 1.5 liters of air into the mouthpiece.
- The car breathalyzer analyzes your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and compares it to a preset limit that ranges from 0.02 to 0.04, depending on the state.
- If your BAC is at or over the preset limit, your car won’t start. After a certain amount of attempts, the device will go into lockout mode and can only be reset by your interlock service provider.
- If your BAC is below the preset limit, your car will start. However, you’ll have to take rolling tests every five to 30 minutes while driving. If you fail a rolling test, your car’s horn will honk and/or lights will flash until you turn off the ignition.
Remember, if your BAC is over the preset limit, not only will your car not start, but the event is logged and becomes part of the report that is sent to the monitoring authority.