Ignition interlock device basics

Among the many challenges residents in Texas who have been convicted of driving while intoxicated offenses face, one is the potential loss of their driving privileges. Whether or not this happens or how long a driver’s license suspension or revocation may last depends in part upon the details of the particular offense and situation. However, some drivers may be able to reinstate their ability to drive legally if they install and use an ignition interlock device. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety indicates that before a person can legally be allowed to drive even with an IID, they must not only install the device but pay all reinstatement fees. If the use of an ignition interlock device is required but no device is installed, the driver’s license may actually be cancelled.

Intoxalock, an IID manufacturer and vendor, explains that an ignition interlock device is comprised of multiple components. The first is the handheld breath sample device into which a driver blows. The breath sample is then read and evaluated for traces of alcohol. The data is sent to a microchip that controls the vehicle’s ignition. If the sample passes, the ignition is unlocked and the vehicle is allowed to be started and driven.

If the breath sample test results show that a person’s BAC is over the threshold programmed into the device, the ignition remains locked and the vehicle cannot be operated. Some substances such as mouthwash might contain traces of alcohol and contribute to failed tests, complicating life for drivers.