In the state of Connecticut, DUI offenses can carry serious penalties. One such penalty is that your driver’s license will be suspended for a certain amount of time. This depends on how many prior offenses you have. You can only get your license back if you install an ignition interlock device in the vehicle(s) that you drive. You will have to apply for this device through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Learn more about this device and the ignition interlock program here.
The Ignition Interlock Device
This device will generally be installed in the glove compartment of your car. Or, it might go somewhere on the passenger’s side of your vehicle. This device will be connected to the ignition system in your engine. The interlock ignition device will come with a handheld alcohol sensor. This is generally attached to the dashboard of a car. If you want to start your car, you must first blow approximately 1.5 liters of air into this alcohol sensor unit. The alcohol sensor unit will have a prerecorded limit, and if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is higher than this limit, the car will not start. The BAC limit will vary, however, it is usually somewhere between .02% and .04%.
A computer chip is installed in the device that monitors your BAC level. If your BAC is over the limit that has been set by the device, this information will be recorded and can be used by law enforcement in future cases against you and prevent you from starting the car at all. The computer chip can also monitor if the device has been tampered with. So, breaking or altering the device is not an option.
Some interlock ignition devices also give rolling tests. These are tests that occur at random intervals once you have already begun driving. These tests will occur from about five to 30 minutes once the car has started. The rolling tests are meant to prevent you from consuming alcohol while driving in your car. These tests will also deter you from having a sober friend blow into the interlock ignition device in order to start the car while you are drunk. If you do not provide a breath sample during a rolling test, or if your BAC is higher than the limit that the interlock ignition device is set at, a warning alarm will go off. This warning can vary from your car horn honking to your headlights blinking until you turn the ignition off.
Maintenance must be performed on your ignition interlock device program monthly. The data logs in the device will be downloaded and recorded during this maintenance and sent to the police. The police will be able to monitor how many times you passed or failed the BAC test or the rolling tests. Therefore, if you have an interlock ignition device, you should make sure that you can pass the test every time you want to drive.