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3 surprising facts about ignition interlock devices

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2020 | DUI

If you have multiple DUI convictions or a single conviction for driving with a high blood alcohol concentration, a judge may order you to install an ignition interlock device on every vehicle you drive. To start your vehicle, you must provide an alcohol-free breath sample. You must also continue to breathe into the device during your trip. 

Here are three surprising facts about Pennsylvania’s interlock requirement. 

1. The device is not free

You may think the ignition interlock device is either low-cost or free, but that simply is not true. In fact, you must pay for both device installation and maintenance. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the average cost for just one device is between $900 and $1,300 per year. 

2. False-positive results are possible

Like with DUI breath tests, interlock devices are not infallible. A few different factors may lead to false-positive results, including the following: 

  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes, GERD, acid reflux, heartburn or indigestion 
  • Medications, such as inhaled albuterol, over-the-counter cold medicine and allergy medication 
  • Foods, such as ripe fruit, bread and protein bars 
  • Hygiene products, such as cologne, mouthwash, deodorant or lotion 

3. You need a special license

If a judge has ordered you to comply with the interlock requirement, you must do so every time you drive. To ensure you do not simply borrow a device-free car, you must obtain a special license. 

This license, which looks markedly different from a regular one, informs officers and others you should only be driving a vehicle that has an interlock device. If you are not, you may face additional consequences. 

Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Defense: Law, Tactics, and Procedure | by Patrick F. Lauer, Jr. | Revere Legal Publishers