What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

It is never a good idea to get behind the wheel after a couple of drinks as the repercussions for drinking and driving can be costly. You may be aware of some of the penalties such as fines, license suspensions and even the potential to serve jail time, but what you might not know is that DUI laws are changing every day and becoming stricter. The laws and consequences vary from state to state so it is important to know the rules in the state in which you drive.

One state that has recently made some changes to its DUI laws is the state of California. The California drunk driving law was amended effective January 1, 2019 to include a new requirement for many drivers who have their licenses suspended for drunk driving. In order to reinstate your driving privileges, in some cases, you will need to have your car equipped with an ignition interlock device. California drivers who have been charged with a DUI are probably wondering what an ignition interlock device (IID) is and what does this penalty entail.

What is IID?

An IID is a piece of equipment that acts a breathalyzer in car steering columns. With an IID, the car will only start once the driver breathes into the device and their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is registered within the legal limit. A driver will be unable to start their car if they have been drinking and are beyond the limit to drive. The IID does not only require breaths to start the car – drivers are also required to provide breath samples periodically during their trip.

Are There Penalties for Misuse of the Device?

The IID will keep a record of how it is used as well as if it is tampered with. The device will log any of the following events:

  • If a breath sample is provided that tests positive for alcohol
  • If you attempt to remove or rewire the device
  • If you fail to provide a sample while the vehicle is already in operation

Failure to utilize the IID properly can result in having your license suspension reinstated.

Who Needs to Obtain an Ignition Interlock Device and for How Long?

According to the new California DUI laws, there are a variety of cases in which you will be required to have an IID installed. It must be installed in all vehicles that you own or operate. Some examples include:

  • First time DUI offenders who have caused an injury related to the incident (IID will be required for six months)
  • Second DUI offense (IID will be required for one year)
  • Third DUI offense (IID will be required for two years)
  • Four or more DUI offenses (IID will be required for three years)

First time DUI offenders that did not cause an injury will not be required to have an IID, but they will have the option to choose between full driving privileges with an IID for six months or a restricted driver’s license for one-year. The restricted driver’s license would only allow them to drive to and from work and to and from their required alcohol and drug education program.

What are the Negative Consequences of Having an IID?

California drivers will find that ignition interlock devices can be expensive to install and maintain. The devices have to be installed by a licensed IID installer, which can cost approximately $75 to $100. The device has to be maintained, calibrated and tested regularly, which can cost as much as $60 to $80 per month. These costs will increase if you have additional vehicles that you own or operate.

However cost is not the only issue surrounding IIDs. They can be annoying to deal with and embarrassing to explain to passengers in your vehicle. Imagine heading out to lunch with your coworkers and having to explain your IID or taking a road trip with friends and being forced to randomly pull-over to provide a breath sample.

While having an IID is not ideal, it does provide the opportunity for you to get back on the road quicker. It also helps to guide you on the path to being a responsible driver and if used effectively you will have your full driving privileges back sooner than you imagined.

If you’ve been convicted of a DUI and need car insurance, Freeway Insurance can help. Freeway specializes in insuring drivers who have DUIs, tickets, accidents, or require an SR-22. Request a free DUI car insurance quote online or over the phone by calling (800) 777-5620.