An ignition interlock is a device, installed in a vehicle, which detects whether there is alcohol on the breath of a driver, and if so, prevents the vehicle from starting. The device also re-tests the driver at regular intervals to make sure that no alcohol has been consumed after the initial test.
Is an ignition interlock accurate?
Yes. Ignition interlocks have to be manufactured to government standards, and calibrated regularly to ensure that readings are accurate.
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What happens if I fail the breath test on the interlock?
If the interlock detects alcohol on your breath, a “Fail” indication will show, and you will enter what is called a temporary lockout for a few minutes. That means you cannot start the car until the device indicates that it is ready for another breath test. If you fail again, each subsequent test causes a longer lockout period. The lockout period allows alcohol to dissipate from the mouth if the fail is a result of food or other substances in the mouth, and gives you a chance to rinse your mouth with water.
Can medicines or mouthwash cause me to fail a breath test?
Yes. The device measures alcohol on the breath. Many mouthwashes and cough syrups have alcohol in them, and if you blow too soon after using them, it could register enough alcohol to cause a fail. That’s why it is good to rinse the mouth after using mouthwash or medicine, and wait for alcohol to dissipate.
What else can cause a breath test fail?
Some foods and drinks can cause a breath test fail. The yeast in pizza dough and pastries can ferment and create a small amount of alcohol, which can register on the interlock. Vinegar, fruit and fruit drinks, energy drinks, and vanilla extract also can trigger a fail. To prevent this, be sure to rinse out your mouth with water or wait 15 minutes for the alcohol to dissipate before starting the vehicle.
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Can someone use a balloon or other air source to mimic human breath?
No, all currently available interlocks have protections against attempts like this, so that artificial breath samples will not register correctly.
Can I start my car sober, leave it running while I drink, and then drive it?
No. Ignition interlocks require random re-tests – breath tests which occur at random intervals while driving. If the driver fails, the event is recorded and the horn starts to honk until the vehicle is shut off.
What if I get a friend to take the test for me?
No, most provinces have laws against helping a driver circumvent an interlock. Both driver and the person taking the test would be liable for serious punishment. In addition, your ignition interlock requires tests while the vehicle is running. If the retest fails, the violation is recorded and the vehicle’s horn would begin honking.
Is the “running retest” dangerous?
No, you can blow into your ignition interlock without taking your eyes off the road. The device signals for a retest with an audible tone. You then have a few minutes to blow into it. If you prefer, you can pull over to the side of the road in a safe area to provide the breath sample. There are no buttons to push or screens to read; you must only breathe into the unit to complete a breath sample.
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Will the interlock shut off my engine?
No, the interlock will never shut off an engine while it is running. If you miss or fail a retest, the horn will sound. It will be necessary to bring your vehicle in for a reset in that case.
No, a LifeSafer interlock will not harm your vehicle in any way. Our installers are well-trained and experienced in all aspects of vehicle wiring.
Why do I need to bring my vehicle in to the service centre regularly?
Because the interlock device has a serious job to do, one with legal consequences, it must be calibrated regularly to ensure that tests are accurate. Also, data from the device needs to be downloaded and sent to monitoring authorities. That is why the interlock is usually serviced every 30 or 60 days. If there are violations, servicing can be more frequent.
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Can I miss my service appointment?
You should never miss your service appointment. At each service appointment the date of your next appointment will be on your invoice.
As a reminder of your upcoming service appointment, several days ahead of time your hand unit will display the message Service Reminder and give you the date and time of your appointment. If you miss your appointment, the hand unit will then display a message stating LOCKOUT STARTS and give you a time and date. If service is not performed by this date (usually within 5 days) the unit will enter what is called a permanent lockout. That means that you can no longer drive the vehicle, and it must be towed to the service centre for reset.
Can other people drive my interlock-equipped vehicle?
Yes. Anyone can drive your vehicle. However, note that they will need to know how to use the interlock, and you are be responsible for any violations. LifeSafer will train other users of your interlock-equipped vehicle free of charge. Just call to make an appointment.
What happens when my vehicle needs repair?
If your vehicle needs service or repair, contact the LifeSafer service centre prior to the appointment. Documentation must be provided if the power to the vehicle is interrupted as the unit will record the power disconnect and the reconnect.
If the battery is disconnected, will the interlock lose the record of my tests?
Driving under suspension without a required interlock is illegal. Not installing an ignition interlock that has been mandated can carry serious legal consequences.
What if I am NOT the registered owner of the vehicle the interlock will be installed in?
Download the Permission of Ignition Interlock Installation by Registered Vehicle Owner form and have the registered own of the vehicle complete it for you. Bring the completed form with your to you installation.
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