What is the ignition interlock device program?

If you have recently been convicted of an alcohol-related traffic offense, you may have been enrolled in the Maryland ignition interlock program. Participants who are required to use ignition interlocks must have a device installed in their vehicle that measures their blood alcohol content. Knowing your rights after a DWI can help you understand more about the costs and legal obligations associated with the ignition interlock program.

Not all DWI drivers are eligible for the interlock program. Generally, those drivers who are targeted for participation include those who have multiple offenses, a high number of “points” on their license, or violations of a previous alcohol-related driving restriction. These offenders have several responsibilities during their time in the ignition interlock program.

First, it is important to realize that those convicted of a DUI charge and sentenced to an ignition interlock program are responsible for paying for monthly device maintenance. The driver is also responsible for the cost of installation. Additional fees may also be levied for obtaining a driver’s license to accommodate these restrictions.

When enrolled in the ignition interlock program, the driver must first schedule an appointment to have the device installed in his or her personal vehicle. The driver will be trained in on the device’s use at the time of installation.

Ignition interlocks require drivers to blow into the device to ensure that they are not intoxicated before the vehicle’s engine will start. Next, the program participant must return every month to the service provider that placed the device in the vehicle. That provider will ensure that the device is functioning properly, and information from the device will be sent to authorities.

Participants who fail the monitoring tests one or more times during a monitoring period may be subject to an extension of the ignition interlock time period. Using an ignition interlock device can be a great way to avoid other serious consequences. However, the use of these machines may not always be intuitive. Experts at the local motor vehicle division can help program participants understand the device’s functions and other responsibilities.

Source: Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, “Ignition Interlock Program,” accessed July 28, 2014