In Colorado, courts require the installation and monitoring of an ignition interlock device for anyone convicted of drunk driving.

Understanding what an ignition interlock device is and how it works will increase user’s awareness of the dangers associated with the equipment.

What is an IID?

An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer installed in a convicted person’s car that measures the amount of alcohol in his or her breath. Following a DUI offense, a third party company installs the device. The breathalyzer blocks the driver from starting his or her vehicle unless he or she first takes a breath alcohol test. The IID registers the results and if the BAC results that are over the preset, then the car will not start.

The interlock device provider receives the failed alcohol tests reports, which may lead to further legal repercussions for the driver.

What are the hazards of this device?

While the motorist is operating his or her vehicle, the IID requires him or her to randomly retest. The driver must take a hand off the wheel, grab the device and blow hard into the breathalyzer. Doing so takes the person’s attention off the road. If the driver ignores taking a retest, the vehicle will flash its headlights and honk its horn, causing further distraction and disturbance while driving.

A New York Times review found some drivers taking the IID retest  suffered serious injuries. Individuals almost lost a hand when hitting a telephone pole, blacked out and crashed while blowing into the mouthpiece and killed someone after dropping and reaching down for the device.

Although the penalties for DUI convictions can have very serious effects on people’s futures, the remedy should not threaten any more lives.