Ignition Interlock: Effective Way to Prevent Impaired Driving or a Useless Device?

Do you know what an ignition interlock device does?

Many people are unfamiliar with this term and are unaware of how this device can help prevent drunk driving. Basically it is an alcohol breath analysis system that can be installed in the vehicles of frequent impaired driving offenders. Before they can drive, they must verify that they are able to by providing a breath sample or the car will not function. While they are a useful tool, ignition interlock devices shouldn’t be the only solution to impaired driving. A problem as complex as drinking and driving requires a varied approach. Here are a few common questions about ignition interlock devices and drinking and driving so that you can better understand these devices and how they can help keep Ontario’s roads safe for all drivers.

Ignition Interlock Device Facts

  1. 1

    How Will An Ignition Interlock Device Affect Me?

    An ignition interlock device is very inconvenient. Once you receive this provision on your license you will be unable to drive any vehicle without an installed device. You will need to pay for the installation yourself and since the device cannot be removed, it will be used by anyone who drives your car. If you share vehicles with spouses or family everyone will have to use the device. You will have to breathe into the interlock device before starting the vehicle and every few minutes as you drive. If you do not, the vehicle will stop functioning properly.

  2. 2

    How Much Do Ignition Interlock Devices Cost to Install?

    Not only are ignition interlock devices a hassle and an irritation, they are also expensive. If you have an ignition interlock provision on your driver’s license you will have to pay to install an ignition interlock device on every vehicle that you drive. Each device and installation can cost as much as $1,300.

  3. 3

    What Happens if You Drive Without the Device?

    Some drivers think that it won’t be that big of a deal to drive a vehicle without an interlock device, this is not the case. If you drive a vehicle without the device and you are required to have one it is a big mistake. The car will be impounded for 7 days, even if it isn’t yours, and you will have to pay impound fees as well. If you are required to have an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, make sure that you don’t drive a vehicle without one.

  4. 4

    What Other Punishments Are There for Drinking and Driving in Ontario?

    While ignition interlock devices are one potential consequence of driving while intoxicated, they aren’t the only consequence that you might face. Drivers can receive immediate, non-disputable roadside suspensions any time their blood alcohol level is higher than .05%. There are also serious fines, legal penalties and potential loss of license when you are convicted of driving drunk. Plus since you aren’t fully able to drive as well as when you are sober you also run the risk of getting into accidents or hurting yourself or others. The risks are great when you choose to drink and drive and it just isn’t worth it.

  5. 5

    How Much Can Drinking and Driving Cost?

    If you are caught drinking and driving it can be very expensive. You will have to pay a fine which will be anywhere from $60 to $500. If you receive a roadside suspension it will carry an additional $150 fine. Court costs will vary and many people spend at least $2,000 on their court case, some a lot more. If you need an ignition interlock device it will cost you $1,300. Plus you will have to pay increased auto insurance premiums for the next several years. Sometimes the bump in your insurance costs is the biggest expense associated with drunk driving. Often the premiums will increase about $4,500 per year for the next several years.

  6. 6

    What Happens if I Have Alcohol in My System While Using an Ignition Interlock Device?

    Many people wonder what will happen if they drive drunk with an ignition interlock device. Will the car stop working in the middle of the highway? Of course not. This would be unsafe and would make a drunk driver an even bigger danger. What does happen is that the device will cause the vehicle to become more noticeable. This could mean the horn starts going off or the lights start flashing. It will also record the problem in the devices logs which can be accessed and read by local enforcement if desired.

  7. 7

    How Do I Avoid Getting an Ignition Interlock Provision on My License?

    As you can see, an ignition interlock device is not something to hope for. Luckily you can avoid having to have one of these devices installed in your car if you simply avoid drinking and driving. It is that easy. If you are going to drink make other plans to get home rather than driving yourself.

  8. 8

    What Can You Do To Avoid Drinking and Driving?

    Drinking and driving is preventable. If you are responsible and plan ahead you can avoid ever having to be in that situation. For example you can arrange with friends and choose a designated driver before you ever start drinking or you can take a taxi instead of driving yourself. Thinking about how you will get home before you start to drink will help you to make better decisions and to avoid the potential consequences of drinking and driving.

  9. 9

    What About Alcohol Education Programs?

    Some people wonder if they can avoid using an ignition interlock device by attending an alcohol education or treatment program. Generally these two punishments are administered together and even when they aren’t you can’t pick and choose which punishments you will face. If you don’t want an ignition interlock device, don’t drink and drive.

  10. 10

    What if I Can’t Afford the Device?

    If you can’t afford an ignition interlock device you don’t have to have one installed. However, without one you cannot drive until the provision is off of your license. This will vary based on your situation but will usually mean at least 6 months without driving privileges.

The best way to avoid having to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle is simply to avoid drinking and driving.

You can do your part to keep Canada’s roads safe by making a commitment today to never drink and drive.