Ignition Interlock Device Increasingly Required in Many States

Ignition interlock devices (IID) have become a booming business. Since IIDs first came into use in the 1980s, some type of ignition interlock legislation has been passed in all 50 states. Many states now mandate the use of an IID for the first conviction. The trend is to extend the use of IIDs to an earlier stage in the legal process with the hope that this will prevent another DWI.

IIDs – A Growth Industry

IIDs are a growth industry, expected to exceed $48 million by 2021. In fact, one of the companies providing IIDs, Blow & Drive Interlock Inc., is selling franchises, touting a steady income stream and a need for only 2-3 employees. Commercial fleet owners make up about 2% of the IID market, but the remaining 98% of IIDs go to the compliance market – those convicted of a DWI charge.

The Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers is a lobbying group representing interlock manufacturers throughout the U.S. They work to have states pass increasingly stringent interlock legislation. This lobbying group has a financial incentive to expand the use of IIDs.

Maryland’s New IID Laws

In Maryland, strict legislation was passed in May 2016 that requires anyone to have an IID installed on their vehicle after their first DWI conviction. A second conviction will require an IID for a year. Those with three or more convictions will be required to use an IID for three years.

North Carolina’s Interlock Laws

In North Carolina, an IID is mandatory if someone has a Breath/Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher on their first offense or for the second or subsequent offense. Once a driving license has been restored, an IID will be required for:

  • 1 year if the license was revoked for 1 year
  • 3 years if the license was revoked for 4 years
  • 7 years if the license was revoked permanently, but could be restored

How an Ignition Interlock Device Works

Every time the IID is used, it is recorded on a built-in data analyzer. A zero alcohol breath sample is required before the vehicle will start. The driver will be randomly required to provide additional breath samples while driving.

If the breath sample is not zero alcohol or not provided, a warning and the BAC if obtained will be logged by the IID and the vehicle will be disabled until an acceptable BAC is provided.

Every 30 to 60 days, the driver must have the IID serviced and the event log downloaded at the IID installation facility.

Interlock Ignition Devices are Expensive

Recipients should expect to pay up to $2,000 for the first year in the interlock program. Below are ballpark estimates since costs vary somewhat for different manufacturers. Monthly maintenance costs will probably be charged in addition to the fees listed below.

  • Installation: $85-$100 to the IID company
  • Monthly rental fee: $75-90 per month to the IID company
  • Monthly monitoring costs: $35 per month to the state

Fight Your DWI

Fighting the DWI offers the best chance to avoid having an IID installed in your car. Think how embarrassing it will be to have to blow into the device in front of others and, as shown above, it’s expensive. North Carolina may require the IID, but the defendant has to pay for it.

No lawyer encourages anyone to drink and drive. Every person accused of a crime, however, deserves to have their constitutional rights protected with a vigorous defense. Those rights must not be violated. An experienced Raleigh DWI attorney like those with Raleigh law firm Kurtz & Blum, PLLC is always focused on achieving the best possible outcome for their client.