Effective today, the first day of the new year, all drivers in Washington state who are convicted of a DUI violation and required to install an ignition interlock system will have an additional facet mandated to prevent fraudulent readings.  All new systems will have to have a camera as part of the system to avoid tampering and fraudulent readings.

Ignition interlock devices are designed to allow those who have been convicted of a DUI to still operate their own motor vehicle, but with the caveat that their ignition be outfitted with an alcohol monitor device that must be blown into to start the car and periodically after driving to ensure that the driver is not impaired and assure the safety of all those on the road.  Washington state has some of the strictest ignition interlock laws, requiring that all first time offenders have the device installed on their vehicles and used for a period of one year.  Most other states, including Colorado, make the system optional offering a reduced period of license suspension if they elect to have a system installed.  In most states, second time offenders and those who were found to have a blood-alcohol content over twice the legal limit are required to have the alcohol monitor systems installed.

More recently, prominent groups like AAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have been calling for all states to adopt policies mandating ignition interlock installations for those convicted of DUI violations.  The change to add a camera as part of the system was inspired by reports that some drivers who had the alcohol monitor systems installed were having others blow into the system for them in order to bypass the system and allow them to drive even if their blood-alcohol content was over the limit.

The new systems that are mandated in Washington involve a camera mounted above the dashboard that takes two pictures for each ‘session’.  One is taken when the system orders the test (when the car is started or when a periodic random ‘rolling retest’ is ordered) and another when the driver is actively blowing into the alcohol monitor device.  This is designed to avoid drivers having others blow into the system for them.  The pictures are captured and stored by the ignition interlock manufacturer, and can be ordered by the authorities if they suspect tampering or incorrect use.

Ignition interlock devices can be installed at your local auto shop by a qualified technician.  Fort Collins Foreign Car provides installation service for Guardian ignition interlock systems.