ignition interlock breath testsIf you’re ordered to install an ignition interlock in your vehicle, there’s a good reason for that: the courts and the public want reassurance that you won’t drive again while impaired.

And we’ll assume you’re a responsible driver who won’t have any more violations. But you’ll still have the problem of explaining to your friends and other passengers what the device on your dashboard is for. Here are a few suggestions to make that part of your interlock program a little easier:

  1. “Did you know I’ve got breath-assist on my car? It’s the latest thing. Saves ten percent on fuel bills.”
  2. “This? Oh, this is an anti-theft device. It’s programmed with my individualized breath pattern. If anyone else tries to drive my car it calls the police.”
  3. “Can you wait a second? I need to call Toyota on the intercom. I think I heard a funny noise in the engine on the way here.”
  4. “Oh man, I could use an oxygen boost right now.  I used to buy the cans, but it was cheaper just to put a tank in the trunk. Just a second …”
  5. “Hey, is your seat feeling kind of under-inflated? Mine is. Let me just blow it up a little…”
  6. “Hydration, my friend. That’s the key. I keep water in my car so I can sip on the go. Did you know that 75% of Americans don’t get enough water?  That can lead to rapid heartbeat, fever, muscle cramps. Ask me about muscle cramps sometime.”
  7. (For women) “How’s my lip gloss? Hmm, needs a bit more. Just got this new color. Crazy dispenser, right? There, that’s better…”
  8. “Hey, my nephew left his bubble pipe in the car. Wonder if there’s any soap left? (blows). Guess not. Okay, let’s go.”
  9. “We’ll be departing shortly. In the unlikely event of a water landing, a scuba unit will deploy. NHTSA regulations require me to test this. It just takes 6 seconds. Thank you for your patience.”

There are plenty of reasons not to drink and drive. First among them is the harm you can do to yourself and others. Ten thousand people are killed each year, many more injured, and countless others harmed in other ways through the crime of drunk driving.

There’s also the cost in money and time. And finally, there’s the humiliation. Having an ignition interlock is a good thing – the devices have been proven to reduce recidivism dramatically in states where they are required and interlock laws are enforced. But many people are uneasy about having the devices in their vehicles, and unsure of how to explain it to others.

We hope these explanations help. If they are a bit far-fetched, make up your own. As long as you use it and stay on the road safely and legally, what you tell your friends is up to you.

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