Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law
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How ignition interlock devices work

The loss of driving privileges due to a DUI or other violation of state driving laws can feel devastating, and naturally, any Connecticut resident who has gone through the process of having a driver’s license suspended wants to resume their driving privileges as soon as possible. Fortunately, state law does provide a way for drivers who have been convicted of a DUI to prove that they can act responsibly behind the wheel, through the use of an ignition interlock device (IID).  

Connecticut state law, as described on the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles website, requires drivers to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles in the event of a violation of one of several state laws. These may include failing an alcohol test or refusing to take one, operating under alcoholic or drug influence, or engaging in vehicular assault or manslaughter with a vehicle. Once the driver has served a time of a driver's license suspension, the driver will be permitted to operate a vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed.

According to Lifesaver.com, when the driver wants to start up an automobile, the driver must first breathe into the device. The interlock device will then determine if there is any alcohol content on the driver’s breath. If there is not, the vehicle’s ignition will start. However, if the device detects alcohol, the vehicle will not start, and the driver will have to wait, usually for a few minutes, until the device accepts another test. If the driver continues to fail re-tests, the device will increase the amount of time to the next re-test.

Interlock devices do not stop there. Even when the vehicle is in motion, the device may require another test, depending if the law demands it, in order to deter the driver from consuming alcohol while on the road. To signal an upcoming re-test, the device will beep. If the breath sample is clean, the automobile will continue to operate normally. However, in the event you produce an alcoholic sample, the vehicle will likely signal you to stop by flashing the headlights and honking the horn. The ignition, though, will not suddenly cut out while you are in motion. You will be allowed to bring the vehicle to a stop.

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