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Ignition Interlock Cost: What You Need to Know in 2024

The cost of an ignition interlock device (IID) can vary depending on several factors, such as the provider, your location, and any additional features or services included. On average, you can expect to pay between $70 to $150 for installation and a monthly fee of $60 to $90 for monitoring and calibration.
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Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

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What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An Ignition Interlock Device (IID), commonly known as a car breathalyzer, is typically installed in your vehicle as a legal requirement following a drunk driving offense. These devices are roughly the size of a smartphone and can be discreetly installed near the driver's seat to avoid attracting attention.

The Ignition Interlock Device comes into play when you want to start your motor vehicle. It requires you to provide a breath sample before the engine can start. Simply blow into the mouthpiece, and if your breath sample falls within the allowed limits, your car will start without any issues.

Also Read: What Happens if You Fail an Interlock Test?

How Do Interlock Devices Work?

According to DCL, ignition interlock devices are installed in your vehicle's ignition system. When you attempt to start your vehicle, you must blow into the device's tube. It will then analyze your breath for alcohol content. If alcohol is detected, your vehicle will not start [1].

Most ignition interlock devices include lock-out features that prevent your car from starting if your breath alcohol level exceeds a predetermined threshold. These lock-out periods typically increase in duration with each failed breath test.

If you pass the initial breath test, you can start your car and drive. However, ignition interlock devices conduct rolling retests at random intervals while you're driving. You'll need to pull over and provide another breath sample within a specified time frame.

You are expected to pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot to breathe into the tube again. If you do not do so, your horn might begin honking or an alarm might go off to prompt you to turn your car off.

However, it may record and transmit data about the failed retest to the provider, potentially resulting in a violation of ignition interlock device laws.

Ignition Interlocks Have Stopped More Than 3 Million Drunk Drivers: Study

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) announced that in-car breathalyzers have prevented drivers who are drunk from starting their vehicle over 3 million times since 2006 [2]. This milestone coincides with MADD's launch of the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving in 2006, during which they began advocating for ignition interlocks for every drunk driver.

The data, compiled by MADD from 11 ignition interlock manufacturers, was revealed during a presentation by Frank Harris, MADD’s Director of State Government Affairs, at the Association of Ignition Interlock Program Administrators’ (AIIPA) 2019 Annual Conference in San Diego.

Drunk driving deaths have decreased by 19 percent since 2006, despite an increase in the number of drivers on the road, stated Harris. MADD attributes much of this decrease to the more than 3 million times an interlock prevented someone from driving drunk, along with the hundreds of state laws MADD has helped enact to improve the implementation of this life-saving device.

The new data indicates that ignition interlocks prevented nearly 348,000 attempts to drive drunk in 2018 alone. This marks the fourth year MADD has surveyed interlock manufacturers and released the findings, illustrating how many people could have been driving drunk if not for the interlock.

As a mother who lost her 16-year-old daughter to this preventable crime, I am horrified to learn that even after people have been arrested and ordered to use an ignition interlock, they still try to drink and drive, said MADD National President Helen Witty. Without this technology, they would be driving impaired. We have much more work to do, as we are still losing almost 11,000 people a year to drunk driving crashes.

Ignition interlock laws receive support from every major traffic safety organization, and numerous studies have shown that the devices save lives. The most recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that mandatory interlock laws reduce DUI deaths by 16 percent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ignition interlock use reduces DUI recidivism by 67 percent compared to license suspension alone.

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