If you’ve been ordered to install an ignition interlock, and you’re a North Carolina driver, you might have some questions about this new device that’s about to enter your life.
No worries – it’s not difficult to manage, and your life will soon be back to normal if you follow instructions and learn the basics. Here are some facts that North Carolina drivers should know if they have a DWI and are about to get an interlock device.
You’ve been ordered to install an ignition interlock. What is that?
An ignition interlock is a device, attached to a vehicle’s ignition, which reads a breath sample from the driver and prevents the vehicle from starting if it detects alcohol in the sample.
How does the interlock device detect alcohol?
An ignition interlock has a fuel cell – a platinum electrode which actually removes alcohol from the breath by separating it into acetic acid and water. This chemical reaction produces a current which can be precisely measured. The greater the concentration of alcohol the higher the current.
Can an ignition interlock stop my vehicle?
Absolutely not. An interlock is connected to the ignition. It can only prevent a car or truck from starting. Once it’s going, the device can’t affect the vehicle.
Once I’ve started my vehicle, what’s to keep me from drinking?
After you’re underway, the ignition interlock will prompt you for another breath sample every once in a while. This is known as the “rolling re-test,” and is designed to prevent users from drinking alcohol after starting their vehicles.
If I fail a rolling re-test, will my car stop?
No. Once again, an ignition interlock cannot stop a vehicle in motion. You are given warnings if your alcohol level registers too high. If you fail a rolling re-test due to alcohol on your breath, your horn will sound repeatedly.
Who must install an ignition interlock in North Carolina?
Courts in North Carolina are required to order the installation of an ignition interlock if a person is driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent or greater. Drivers who are convicted of a previous impaired driving offense must also install the device after their second conviction. Also, drivers arrested for DWI who refuse a blood alcohol test must install the device.
How many North Carolina drivers have interlocks?
There are well over 10,000 ignition interlocks installed in vehicles in North Carolina. They are helping keep the roads safer.
Once I have my ignition interlock installed, what else do I have to do?
Two things: first, drive sober. The second is to come in regularly for a monitoring appointment. Once every 30 or 60 days you will be required to bring your vehicle in so that the ignition interlock provider can download the monitoring data for the authorities. This is also when your device will be calibrated to ensure that readings are 100 percent accurate.
Is it possible to have a false positive test?
Occasionally food residue in the mouth can ferment and cause the device to issue a warning. When that happens, you just need to rinse out your mouth and you’ll be good to go. Some alcohol-based substances such as cologne, hand sanitizer and windshield washer fluid can also trigger the device, but with a little practice you can easily avoid a false positive.
How long must I have my ignition interlock installed?
Interlock terms vary depending on the situation. Usually the more previous convictions, the longer the term. One year is the standard starting term, though in extreme cases the device can be ordered for a 10-year term.
Can other people use my interlock-equipped vehicle?
Yes. It takes a few minutes of training to use an ignition interlock. When the device is installed you’re instructed in its use. Monitech Ignition Interlock is happy to train any additional users free of charge.
However, please note that as the one ordered to install the ignition interlock, you are responsible for any violations that your device registers. So make sure that other users have not consumed any alcohol.
What happens if I drive without my ignition interlock?
Driving without an ordered North Carolina ignition interlock is illegal. The penalty is revocation of all driving privileges for one additional year.
Where can I get more information about North Carolina ignition interlock use?
Monitech Ignition Interlock has robust customer support. Also, check with NCDOT if you need information on the North Carolina ignition interlock program.