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Ignition interlock device: Key to freedom or major restriction?

Some individuals who are convicted of drunk driving in Massachusetts might be required to use an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. This device is meant to prevent a driver from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, again, which could help to save lives.

There are several things that drivers need to know if they are ordered by the court to install these devices. This program is very structured, so any missteps can lead to serious legal issues. Here are a few things to remember if you or someone you know is in the ignition interlock program.

What is an ignition interlock?

An ignition interlock device is about the size of a mobile phone. It must be installed by an approved company. Once it is placed, you won't be able to start the vehicle until you provide a breath sample that the device will check for alcohol. It comes with preset limits that apply to all drivers of the vehicle. If the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage is too high, the vehicle won't start.

While the vehicle is in motion, the device might alert the driver that a fresh sample is needed. In this case, the driver will have to find a safe place to pull over and provide that sample. The vehicle won't be disabled while in motion, but the data regarding the time between the alert and the sample is kept on record.

On which vehicles must the device be installed?

The ignition interlock device must be installed any vehicle that the person drives. This includes not only personal vehicles, but also company vehicles. This is where the device might become an albatross around your neck.

Once the device is installed in your vehicle, anyone who operates that vehicle will have to blow into the device to drive. If another person blows into your device with a BAC that is too high, it will be recorded on the register for the person who was ordered by the court to install it.

Expenses and consequences

Additionally, the device and program can be costly. It might be possible for the fees to be waived, but without a waiver, it can be quite expensive.

Those who are required to have an ignition interlock on their vehicles will have this noted on their driver's licenses. If they are caught driving a vehicle without the device, they can face additional charges, so it is imperative to only drive a car with a device installed and working properly.

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