You may have heard the term ‘ignition interlock’ but not have been entirely clear on what an interlock system is or what it does. Today, we’re going to look at what an ignition interlock system’s purpose is and how it can actually help to save lives by protecting people on the road from one of the most dangerous threats that drivers face: drunk driving.

An ignition interlock system is an alcohol monitor which is installed into the ignition of a car and, once installed by a qualified auto technician, will prevent operation of the vehicle unless the driver blows into a breathalyzer-like device, verifying that he/she is not impaired and is safe to operate the vehicle. These devices can be installed at most any auto shop that has qualified auto technicians, including Fort Collins Foreign Car Service.

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(photo by epSos.de via Flickr)

The devices are primarily installed because they are ordered (or recommended) by a judge or a court after a DUI violation. Typically after an individual is busted for drunk driving, they will lose their driver’s license for a year (for the first offense). This is primarily designed as a safety precaution to prevent future drunken driving until that individual can be determined to be able to drive safely again. However, many states (including Colorado) give convicted DUI offenders the option of having the alcohol monitor interlock devices installed at their own expense in order to allow them to drive their own vehicle.

This allows drivers on the road to be assured that this individual will not be driving impaired, while still allowing the offender to get to work each day without the hassle of getting a ride or taking public transportation (which is not available or very good in many places in America).

Some states are starting to require ignition interlock devices be installed by a qualified auto technician in more instances and that they have more features to ensure that drivers don’t bypass the mechanism. For instance, some new ignition interlocks have a camera that takes a photo of the person blowing into the device so that an impaired driver can’t simply have a sober passenger blow for them. These more advanced devices are not available or required in most places, but they can be installed at an auto shop the same as the normal devices.