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.

We Know Ignition Interlock Devices Work, So What’s Next?

Ignition interlock devices save livesWe have known for decades that IIDs work to prevent subsequent DUIs. Now, we have research that says the devices have effectively reduced DUI fatalities by 7 percent. Considering 10,000 DUI fatalities occur each year, 7 percent is significant. That number doesn’t even account for the injuries that ignition interlock devices prevent, nor the cost of property damage.

All-offender ignition interlock device laws are the next step.

The majority of states have laws that require ignition interlock devices for any drunk driving offense. Others have the requirement for high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) first-offenses or second/subsequent offenses. Both MADD and NTSB recommend interlocks for all drunk drivers, and data supports the effectiveness of the devices. There’s really no reason to not have all-offender requirements. Also, in states where a person knows they could face an ignition interlock requirement, DUI rates are falling.

“The first step to address the number one killer on our roadways is to do what is proven to be effective – use interlocks for all DWI offenders… Technology is the game changer in reducing alcohol-related crashes on our nation’s roadways… Achieving zero alcohol-impaired driving-related deaths is possible only if society is willing to separate the impaired driver from the driving task.” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman (2012).

Enforcing current ignition interlock laws is another priority.

In many states, it seems that an ignition interlock requirement is translated into an optional piece of a DUI conviction. Common sense says that enforcing ignition interlock requirements is just as important as having the devices. While there is a cost to support interlock programs that can seem high, as well as the time and energy spent on supervising offenders, the result is seen through a lower financial, emotional and mental impact, overall. More drunk driving offenders are able to continue working and caring for their families and loved ones, maintaining independence and a sense of purpose in the meantime.

Curious About Company Ignition Interlock Devices?

Company ignition interlock Any business that relies on others to provide transportation of materials or people has to have some concern about the sobriety of its drivers. As such, it’s not unheard of for a company to install ignition interlock devices in all owned or leased vehicles, to eliminate the chances of an employee damaging property or potentially injuring or killing someone while on the clock.

An ignition interlock device is commonly used as a consequence for a criminal drunk driving offense. In those cases, a driver usually has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, although many states have criminal consequences for lower BAC readings, too. If that driver holds a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the BAC limit is at .04 percent, even if they are driving a personal vehicle at the time of their arrest or the DUI incident.

Whether your drivers hold a CDL or just use your company cars, the benefit to an ignition interlock is clear. When a company relies on the same technology as courtrooms across the U.S., that business has less chance of being held liable for damages or worse if an employee drinks and drives.

Voluntary ignition interlock installations aren’t only available to companies. Many families are installing the devices to reduce the chance of a DUI in their own household, for similar reasons. It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially if alcohol has ever been a factor in a driver’s past.

Ignition interlock devices can be used in company cars, trucks or SUVs, as well as other types of vehicles. Increasing safety on the streets is the job of all responsible adults, and keeping your business (or personal) assets intact is one more reason to explore how a voluntary interlock installation may be a smart move for you, your business and the roads outside your company headquarters.

Impaired Influence: Colorado Ignition Interlock Violations

Colorado ignition interlock violationsIn Colorado, a DUI conviction means that you probably have an interlock requirement through the court or DMV. That means two major things in your life: you must remain sober when driving, and you must not drive a vehicle without a Colorado ignition interlock installed until your restriction is lifted.

It seems simple enough, but even with the requirement, not everyone feels it is a fair or simple solution after a DUI. Colorado ignition interlock violations are taken seriously and any attempts to circumvent the device or drive illegally mean that you’ll face an even tougher road to reinstating your license and resuming your normal life.

According to the Colorado DMV:

“Any Interlock-restricted driver who either drives a non-equipped vehicle or attempts to circumvent the proper functioning of the interlock device is subject to a license revocation with no driving for at least 1 year.”

Circumvention can be either mechanically bypassing the device, allowing another person to submit a breath sample, or driving illegally without a Colorado ignition interlock. So that quick run to the store down the road in a car without an interlock device could mean you find yourself removed from the program, facing a full suspension of your license.

Please note that once your license is suspended for an interlock violation in Colorado, the consequences for driving after that point will be severe. Also, not paying for your interlock and having it removed as a result of non-payment also qualifies as a violation.

In other words, your best bet to easily get through your Colorado ignition interlock requirement is to use the device as instructed… or just don’t drink and drive in the first place.

Colorado doesn’t mess around with any type of impaired driving, and you could even have an interlock requirement if you are under the influence of any type of substance, not just alcohol. Violating the law and putting lives in danger is a choice that can be avoided when you plan ahead if you know you’ll be drinking (or using any other legally-intoxicating substances) and have a safe ride home.

Common California Ignition Interlock Concerns

Concerned about your California ignition interlock device?California recently voted to expand ignition interlock access across the state, a huge win for safety advocates everywhere. Of course, with such a widespread law, there are concerns about how the program works, and especially how a California ignition interlock device keeps drivers from another DUI while they live their life almost as if the incident never happened.

A California ignition interlock device cannot erase your past, but it can keep your future bright.

Messing up an interlock test isn’t easy, despite what the rumors may say. Most concerns with a California ignition interlock are easily solved just through education. For instance:

  • Doing the interlock test wrong. When you take your vehicle in to have the device installed, you will be instructed by your service provider in all aspects of submitting a breath sample (blowing into the device). You’ll also learn all of the specifics of your device, like warning lights, tones and what to expect when you come in for calibration appointments.
  • Other drivers or kids using the device. Whether with your permission, or out of curiosity, you may have other people using your device (or trying to). That’s okay, as long as nobody blows into the device after they’ve been drinking.
  • Rolling retests. Yes, when you are driving your car, you will be prompted for a test. You can’t mess up the test and your car will not shut down while you’re driving. If you cannot submit a sample, your vehicle will eventually begin to clearly notify you by honking the horn and flashing the lights, that you need to blow into the device.

In the next few years, any DUI driver could be relying on a California ignition interlock device in order to make it to and from work, school or other important appointments. Understanding how the device works is a big step in resuming life as if a DUI never occurred.

Real Talk: Don’t DUI or You’ll Face the Music

DUI is bad. It’s really bad. It causes a lot of financial damage, mental and emotional anguish and it can kill people. DUI does kill people, so don’t drink and drive.

That’s a pretty simple message. We know it’s dangerous to run around with scissors, so we don’t do it. If running with scissors killed a person at the rate of one per hour, we’d see a lot more anti-running-with-scissors awareness campaigns and Mannequin challenges, for that matter. Somehow, not running with scissors is common knowledge, while the danger of a DUI isn’t. That’s exactly why law enforcement is upping the anti-DUI game, bringing in some hard hitters… like Nickelback and One Direction.

In Minnesota, law enforcement tweeted its dastardly plan for DUI drivers:

DUI danger: bad music and law enforcement

Unfortunately, we don’t have the actual statistics on that weekend’s DUI numbers. We can only assume that as a result of the crackdown, there wasn’t a drunk driver on the roads throughout the Thanksgiving weekend in Wyoming, MN. That’s probably why Canada’s Kensington Police Service followed up with this similar pledge on Facebook:

“When we catch you, and we will catch you… on top of a hefty fine, a criminal charge and a years driving suspension we will also provide you with a bonus gift of playing the offices copy of Nickelback in the cruiser on the way to jail.”

Somehow, the ominous threat of court costs, jail time and an ignition interlock requirement aren’t enough to scare common sense into would-be drunk drivers. Facing the music, it seems, is the newest law enforcement technique being used to grab the attention of a person who thinks they could be okay to drive. It may be silly, but playing covers of “Photograph,” or “What Makes You Beautiful” could trigger a response in an intoxicated driver, sending them straight to a phone for a safe ride home.

Well, probably not, but at least we know that law enforcement is using social media and popular music to connect with those who aren’t literally running with scissors, but who are much more dangerous to others on the road. DUI is bad, worse than any overplayed song on the radio, and the consequences last long after the final note has played.

Can I Get a DUI if I have an IID?

DUI with an IIDAfter a DUI or drunk driving conviction, the last thing you want to do is get into more trouble, especially if you have an ignition interlock requirement. You may still question the fairness of your conviction or just have questions about the limits of your device. Just bear in mind that any violations you accrue will result in further consequences.

Those consequences could include more time with your interlock or losing your access to the device and your vehicle entirely. Usually, a violation is the result of failing the testing process or some other small reason that is quickly fixed, never to be repeated. Once in a while, however, a violation is the result of the offender’s lack of judgment, again.

You can get a DUI if you have an IID if:

  • You have been drinking and try to start your vehicle with an interlock installed. Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will be recorded by the device and you will be prevented from driving. That will be a recorded violation. In some states, your BAC reading could result in another DUI charge on your record, even if it is less than the legal limit. Just because you have an IID that won’t let you drive under the influence, you still can’t get around the legal definition of a DUI.
  • You are caught driving another person’s vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. You will also be found in contempt of your ignition interlock requirement, and face additional penalties for your actions. Your interlock requirement isn’t optional, no matter how easy it would be to drive your friend’s car home from the bar.

No matter the questions you have, once you have an IID requirement, your answer is always to remain sober when driving. You can get a DUI with an IID, all it takes is too much to drink and the mistake of thinking you can still drive yourself home.

Can I Warm Up My Car with an Ignition Interlock?

Ignition interlock warm up in cold weatherWarm car, warm heart, warm ignition interlock device? Not always, especially during the winter months in colder climates. An ignition interlock device requires a few sacrifices, like not drinking if you’ll be driving. You may also have to sacrifice your comfort instead of letting your car warm up before starting out for your day.

In a perfect, wintery world, you could let your car idle after it starts, returning to your driver’s seat in a few minutes where the warm air greets you in its embrace. However, with an ignition interlock device, those few minutes you leave your car unattended could be enough to trigger a rolling retest by your device. If you aren’t around for your test prompt and you don’t submit your breath sample, you could have a test failure. Fortunately, your interlock allows you a few moments to submit a sample during a breath test, but you do need to act pretty quickly.

Remember that missing a rolling retest, even if caused by a cold vehicle, could result in a violation of your ignition interlock requirement, extension or removal from the program.

Another problem you may run into in cold weather is warming up your interlock before you submit the initial BAC test. That means you cannot let your car idle, as it won’t start without a clean BAC test. Some devices may have detachable handsets you can bring inside with you to help reduce the warm-up waiting time. There are also plenty of ways to ensure your device has all the juice it needs to get warm and get you on your way.

Not drinking while driving isn’t a sacrifice, and neither is foregoing the process of heating up your car when you have an ignition interlock. You’re doing your part to ensure safer roads in all climates.

Financial Assistance for Your Texas Ignition Interlock

Financial assistance Texas ignition interlockThe holiday season is the most active DWI time of the year. From “Blackout Wednesday” through New Year’s Day, there is an increase in drunk driving incidents and fatalities on roads across the U.S. There’s also a financial impact that hits home during that time as offenders are faced with holiday expenditures and the cost of a DWI conviction. That’s where financial assistance for a Texas ignition interlock device may be an option during this stressful time of year.

The Texas ignition interlock code specifically addresses offenders who may need financial assistance.

Texas Transportation Code § 521.246. Ignition Interlock Device Requirement:

(c) The person shall obtain the ignition interlock device at the person’s own expense unless the court finds that to do so is not in the best interest of justice and enters that finding in the record. If the court determines that the person is unable to pay for the device, the court may impose a reasonable payment schedule for a term not to exceed twice the period of the court’s order.

Since Texas recently expanded it’s ignition interlock access for all offenders, even those who may have wanted to install the device but could not afford to. With financial assistance, DWI offenders can now opt for the device when it isn’t ordered by the court and have an easier time retaining employment and getting back and forth to other important places. That means the impact of the cost is reduced by both the monthly payment and the ability to continue to earn a paycheck.

The holiday season can be challenging for even the most sober of drivers. Adding in a DWI and its associated costs can make life even harder once the dust settles. Of course, staying sober when driving is the best way to ensure a happy, stress-free holiday. But, if you make a bad call after midnight and end up with a DWI, know that your Texas ignition interlock costs won’t ruin your new year.

Why Did My Ignition Interlock Lock Me Out?

Reasons for an ignition interlock lockoutThe majority of U.S. states now require ignition interlock devices for all DUI convictions. The rest of the states have interlock requirements that apply to high blood alcohol concentration (BAC), second or subsequent DUIs or convictions with aggravating circumstances, such as child endangerment. The odds are that if you drink and drive, you’ll have an ignition interlock in your future, so when your device goes into lockout mode, you need to act fast and fix the problem before you find yourself with even bigger problems.

Ignition interlock devices go into lockout mode for different reasons:

  • Failed ignition interlock test. This means your BAC was above the pre-set limit (usually between .02-.03 percent). If you have several test failures upon starting your vehicle or during a rolling retest, your device goes into lockout mode.
  • Tampering with your device. If you try to tamper with the device or circumvent it, the interlock goes into lockout mode. Not only that, but the data that is recorded will indicate any tampering, and you could face further consequences in court.
  • Missed service appointment. Your device will remind you of a periodic service appointment well in advance. If you ignore your reminder and do not have your device serviced, it will go into lockout mode until your ignition interlock service provider is able to maintain your device as ordered by the court.

Common penalties for ignition interlock violations include an extension of the time in the program or removal from the program and a full license suspension or revocation period.

When you have an ignition interlock lockout, you’re not going anywhere until you get things taken care of. Part of that process will involve transmitting data to your probation officer, program supervisor, or the court that convicted you. Avoiding an interlock lockout situation doesn’t have to be difficult, and is one of the biggest steps toward rebuilding your life after a drunk driving conviction.

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