Ask a Trooper: Ignition Interlock

By KBJR News 1

Ask a Trooper: Ignition Interlock

November 7, 2013 Updated Nov 7, 2013 at 1:11 PM CDT

Question: Does ignition interlock really work?

Answer: Yes! Interlock is an important tool in the fight against drunk driving.

This technology is critical to helping us reduce drunk-driving tragedies that have killed at least 585 people in the past five years in Minnesota.

Interlock ensures DWI offenders are driving sober, leading to safer roads for all of us. It also provides a pathway to sober and legal driving for those who are arrested so they can continue their lives – like driving to work, school, etc. It seems to be a win-win for everybody and we are looking forward to its expanded use here in Minnesota.

Less than 1 percent of the 10,664 DWI offenders in Minnesota who have used or are currently using ignition interlock have reoffended since the program’s statewide inception in July 2011, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

This technology is cutting down on impaired driving and creating a safer driving environment for the traveling public.

Who is it for: Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level must use interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to install interlock and use for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.

Interlock Features – anti-circumvention features
• “Rolling re-tests” require driver to provide a breath sample three to five minutes after starting the vehicle, and randomly thereafter.
• In-car cameras record all breath tests. Video and test results are available for DPS to monitor.
• Specific hum -or “suck back” patterns required when providing breath sample.
• Users are required to have the interlock calibrated monthly by a service provider. Service providers will run reports that indicate how many times the vehicle started, number of rolling re-tests, and any test fails (an alcohol-concentration limit of 0.02 or above). Service providers will send reports to DPS for review and to take appropriate action or extend sanctions.

We all need to work together to promote a traffic safety culture in Minnesota, and to help make drinking and driving socially unacceptable behavior. Ignition interlock helps us a lot.

Report anyone you think might be impaired, and don’t drink and drive. Planning ahead is the key. Thanks for asking.