Is Mouthwash an Excuse for Ignition Interlock Violations?

When you have an ignition interlock device, you have a lot of responsibilities that go along with it. First, you need to make sure you are sober if you are driving, or you won’t be able to drive. You need to make it to your service and calibration appointments. You also need to know that other products can cause a violation, like mouthwash.

Well, that’s a relief. A minty, refreshing, ignition interlock test violation relief.

Some mouthwashes contain the same type of alcohol as your favorite microbrew, as do some other medications, inhalers, etc. That type of alcohol can set off your ignition interlock device, but that isn’t necessarily a violation, especially since you are literally not intoxicated. The alcohol that registers from mouthwash or medications quickly dissipates in a few minutes. Your device will prompt you for another test or two, and once you submit a clean sample, you’re in the clear to drive.

Just in case, make a note of what you may have used to set off the device, in case anyone asks once your data is sent to the court or your program supervisor.

Also, remember that there are other products that can cause a false positive. Your big, alcohol-free lunch may have some ingredients that set off the device. Yeasty pastries or pizza dough, vinegar or fruit juice (or fruit) or even energy drinks all contain trace amounts of alcohol. If you have even a bit of those left in your mouth from eating, you could have some difficulties with your test.

Of course, the most common reason for an ignition interlock test violation is that a person has been drinking alcohol. Even one drink, or half a drink, can be enough to set off the device. Remember that your responsibility is to remain sober, completely, when you’re driving and that the normal rules no longer apply. Do your best to keep your record clean and your next celebration could be when you have the device removed.

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