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  1. #1

    your experience with ignition interlock device

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? PA

    I wanted to get some feedback on people's experiences with driving with the ignition interlocking device. I know that I need it installed if I want to drive. Not a problem. The issue is the rate/process at which the device tests and possible potential for failing attempts regardless of alcohol consumption. Please understand I am not trying to get around it. I want the damn thing if I drive, but things have been very easy with public transit and I may do another year without the ability to drive. I would not have to pay the fee for the device (1,000$), would be safe, and would not be a potential repeat offender as police can still arrest you for DUI outside of your vehicle.

    Thoughts & experiences are appreciated. I have about 10 days before my notice comes in the mail.


  2. #2
    Just follow a few rules and everything should be ok ...

    I understand that I may fail a test after consuming alcohol even if several hours have passed since my last drink
    This includes mouthwash, liquid medications, breath sprays, cleaning agents, deodorizers/air fresheners, *perfumes, *colognes, *hairsprays, hand sanitizer, windshield wiper fluid, gas additives, anti-freeze…
    (*These items may be used, but neither these nor any other item should be sprayed in the vehicle) This is not a comprehensive list of all products containing alcohol.
    After eating, rinse mouth thoroughly with water two to three times and wait approximately one to two minutes before testing.

     Who is responsible for operating the vehicle safely when taking a breath test?
    The driver! Remember you have 5 minutes to take a rolling retest. Stay calm.
     What basic rules must be followed to avoid violations?
    1. Do not consume alcohol 2. Do not use alcohol based products 3. Never blow into the device with anything in your mouth 4. Never leave the vehicle running unattended (see Policies,General Rules & Instructions for additional info.).
     How long do I have to wait to take a test if I have been eating or drinking?
    You must wait 1-2 minutes. After eating or drinking anything, you should drink water to clear out your mouth.
     Do I have to take a rolling retest if I have just arrived at my destination?
    You must always take a test when prompted, even if you are about to turn off the car. Remember, if you have already turned off the vehicle, you may still complete a test if the five minute period has not expired.
     What happens if I fail a rolling retest or do not take a rolling retest?
    Your horn will start honking. Pull over immediately and turn off your vehicle. You may try to start your vehicle again within a few minutes. Your display will read “Device Lockout in 7 days.”
     How much time do I have to take a rolling retest?
    You have five minutes to take and complete the test. Remember, you must complete the test before the five minutes expire.
     What is the cost of a violation reset? What is the cost of a missed appointment?
    Each is $25.00. If you call a day before your appointment to reschedule, you will not be charged a missed appointment fee.
     What happens if my vehicle is completely “Locked out?”
    You will have to tow the vehicle to our shop. On a first occurrence, we may provide you with an access code. You will be charged $25.00 in addition to any other fees. A second occurrence will cost $50.00 in addition to any other fees. We will not provide you with an access code on a third occurrence. We expect you to get the vehicle to our shop before you are locked out!
     How often are reports sent to the Court or probation agency?
    We are on a bi-monthly reporting system. However, we will send reports for all violations when they are downloaded or as requested by the Court or your probation agency.
     What type of information is sent in the report?
    A report is marked “compliant” if there are no failed or refused tests and no evidence of tampering. A report is marked “non-compliant” whenever there are failed or refused tests or evidence of tampering. All the data surrounding a non-compliant event is attached to the report along with an explanation and any comments you have made.
     Why is it critical not to have cigarette smoke in the cab of my vehicle?
    Cigarette smoke damages the device. If this type of damage occurs, you may not be able to start your vehicle. If you smoke, take 2-3 deep breaths of fresh air before blowing into the device. Don’t smoke in your vehicle.
     Am I responsible for violations if I let someone else drive my vehicle?
    YES! We do not recommend lending your vehicle to anyone!
     Is it okay for the passenger or someone other than the driver to blow into the device?
    NO! Only the driver is allowed to take tests. If anyone other than the driver is taking tests, both people can be charged with Class B Misdemeanors. If we find data supporting this type of bypass, we will notify the proper authorities.
     What is the penalty for tampering with or circumventing the interlock system?
    You will be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor and be found in violation of your current probation.
     Will the interlock system drain my vehicle’s battery?
    No! However, it is designed to detect low voltage. If your battery goes under 8 volts, the system may not turn on. You will need to charge your battery or get a new battery. Connecting and disconnecting the battery cables will restore the system.
     What should I do if I have to take my vehicle to a mechanic?
    You must notify the mechanic to contact our office before working on your vehicle. If you are present during the repairs, you should tell the mechanic that you need to blow into the device before it is started. Also tell the mechanic you need to take rolling retests. If you are placed in a violation mode after your vehicle was serviced, you are still responsible for the $25.00 violation reset fee.

  3. #3
    Thanks for your input. May just be another year taking the bus & train. I lost the right to drive like a normal person, so I might just not drive at all.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by irish77 View Post
    Thanks for your input. May just be another year taking the bus & train. I lost the right to drive like a normal person, so I might just not drive at all.
    it is not a big deal to have interlock for a year, just a little bit expensive

    and I think it should be mandatory DMV rule to have interlock for a year if you want your full driver license back. one year taking the bus & train probably not enough to take your license back.

  5. #5


    No. I've done my one year suspension taking the bus/train. I am going on my 2nd year and PA requires repeats to have the ignition interlock device. Money is not the issue. After watching the video on the determinator I feel less stress about being able to comply. It seems pretty straightforward, but all things considered I dont need a car where I live. Unless I head back to school which I am considering.

    So I did my year suspension and now have to choose if I want to do another year or want the ignition interlocking device. In either case this time next year I would not have any restrictions.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Thumbs up My experience with interlock

    I've had the Intoxalock device for right at a year now. The device cost less than 200 dollars to have installed. The monthly cost is 65 dollars and it cost 20 dollars per month to have it recalibrated. I am responcible for returning the old device each month which costs 3 dollars. The only real complaint i have is that "rolling retest" prompts will ALWAYS occur at places such as the drive-up window at my bank, or at fast food places. Also, you need to keep music playing at low volume so as to hear the device beep for retests. But, at least i can now legally drive, and for that, i am grateful. All in all, its really not that bad. I will add this also: I would rather walk the rest of my life than to start drinking again. Vodka almost took my life before i got in a recovery program. I dont see these devices as all that bad. Blowing in this unit sure beats the heck out of the terrible hang-overs i used to have EVERY single day.

  7. #7


    Hey Denny,

    Thanks for your input. The cost & the process are not really the minuses for me getting it. It is really my own anxiety over being anywhere near my car in the event I were to drink. Right now a sibling is driving my vehicle and I take public transit everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Philly is great with the buses and trains and my job is 1.5 miles away. My only concern is if I were to take up school again, which I am contemplating. I know the device will stop the vehicle from starting, but I dont want to be in a position where I'm drinking and even within a mile of my vehicle.

    Suffice it to say, I have a serious decision to make in less than 15 days. I never thought I would never want to drive again, but quite honestly, my life is better without driving right now.

  8. #8

    no interlock

    No way I'm doing the interlocking device. I see it as one of the most hazardous devices you could have in your call. Worse than testing or even driving with one eye open. I understand it's required, but I can say I have no vehicles, accept another year of not driving, and feel like a normal person. Where I'm at it doesn't mean a thing if you drive. Actually there are more people walking & biking. So public transit here I come for another year. Definitely the right decision and one I feel more at ease with. No car. No DUI. Plain and simple. I guess, if I lived far from work or necessary places, it might be an issue, but I'm less than 2 miles from work, home, gym, food, fun, etc.

    Plus, I consider this going green and over 300m people a year ride our public transit system here. No insurance, no car payments, no gas. Cant beat it. Next year get my normal, unrestricted license and a new outlook on life. Then again I have that now. But it's all good. Thanks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    North Florida
    Thank you for going green.

    But, why do you think the interlock is hazardous? It does not hurl you into a tree. On the contrary, it prevents you from drinking and driving and possibly hurling yourself into a tree.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    So what happens if you do fail the test to start the car is that another dui?

    [url=http://www.isitlegalto.com/california-law/3327-breathalyzer-installed-car-california.html]breathalyzer installed in car in california - Is It Legal To[/url]

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by wozers View Post
    So what happens if you do fail the test to start the car is that another dui?
    no, but it will be reported to DMV / Court / Probation. Your probation can be revoked, or your license can be suspended, your court suspended fines can be added, it depends.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    North Florida
    You would be in violation of probation for attempting to drive after consuming alcohol. In my state, you get a second VOP for the same reading IF your probation included not drinking alcohol for the duration.

  13. #13


    Exactly. Yes, to all your questions. For me, my anxiety goes away when I don't even have the vehicle around me and I dont need it where I live. Don't even need a bike. Bus/Train takes us everywhere, but to your questions...I'll be brief.

    I watched the video for the breathalyzer. If any sane person thinks that thing is safe, they are stupid. I get it. I get the whole process, but there has to be a better system. I think you should have to do it upon start-up and at least a mandatory rolling test per trip. This thing apparently goes off at random times. Now, can you really agree that if you're doing 65 down the highway, sober, and this thing goes off, you're totally safe picking it up, blowing, waiting, listening, blowing again, and waiting for it to be good?

    I agree, I deserve to have it installed. That's not even my suggestion. It's not always just that easy to pull over and take the test. They never describe the amount of tests that it may give. There are times when if you fail the test for not getting the rolling tests done in a certain amount of time that you have to turn the car off so it can re-set.

    I have no problem with it being mandated for installation on a vehicle, but to me, this thing seems more unsafe than safe. Yes, I understand it will stop people from driving drunk, but it also does something else. It stops drivers from driving safe as well. I thought that was pretty obvious and I would rather walk than run the risk of failing that thing because I didn't take a deep breath from diaphram (?) for 3 seconds, suck in, and then do another blow for 8 seconds until the green light went off.....

    what can happen in 8 seconds? an accident. I'm good. I already transferred all my registration & tags to my sister who now has my vehicle. I haven't driven once since getting my license suspended. I have no desire to even do so. My life is so much better without any of it. Next year I will get to apply for an unrestricted license with one DUI on my record. I will cross that road when I get to it, but I've passed the greatest and most stressful test of my life.....

    There is a possibility I never drive again. I can honestly tell you that.

    Good luck to all.

  14. #14
    what is still utterly shocking to me is all the people who drive with no license at all.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by irish77 View Post
    what is still utterly shocking to me is all the people who drive with no license at all.
    From my experience judges tend to throw the book at those who drive with a revoked or suspended license. They pretty much have to, as the risks of getting caught are not that great so the penalties have to be severe.

    I agree that the interlock might not be the best solution. But a lot of people are not as fortunate as you and have a greater dependence on a vehicle for their livelyhood. The device has limitations and those who need to use it are made aware of them. Choosing a safer less traveled, albeit longer, commute could mitigate some of the issues you address. The interlock is part of the consequences of a dui and is highly effective for its intended purpose.

    Most of the complaints I hear about it are not based on safety, but the embarassment of having it in their car. Of couse the embarassment is leveraged by the ability to drive again.

    Last edited by lenny71; 10-10-2009 at 01:53 AM.
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