Every state has enacted some type of ignition interlock device (IID) law.
Some are mandatory, while others provide for some sort of initiative that
encourages offenders to opt for an ignition interlock device. Ohio, via
Annie’s law, has become one of these states. It provides that first-time
offenders may elect to have an IID installed and forego license suspension
or limited driving privileges. Before this, persons accused of operating
a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol (OMVI) would immediately
lose driving privileges via an automatic license suspension.
What is an IID, though? How does it work, and what will you have to do if you opt for an IID?
IIDs create a proactive medium for controlling impaired driving. Rather
than punishing individuals for driving impaired, they prevent them from
doing so. The device is installed in the driver’s vehicle, typically
in a glove compartment on the passenger side, and then hard-wired to the
engine’s ignition system. The driver must blow approximately 1.5
liters of air into a hand-held alcohol sensor unit before starting the
engine. If the driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) level presents
over a pre-set limit, the IID will prevent the car from starting.
Because the IID is attached to the vehicle and not the driver, many also
require the driver to provide “rolling” samples of breath
while driving. These are required in 5-30 minute intervals, to ensure
that the driver remains sober while driving and that the drive did not
have a sober driver blow into the IID to start the car and then switch
places with the driver. If the driver fails to provide a rolling sample
or provides a sample over the limit, the IID will issue a warning, and
an alarm will go off. Thus, the IID will not shut down the vehicle’s
engine, but the car will begin to do something obnoxious, such as emit
a loud horn sound or bright flashing lights, until the ignition is turned
off. Furthermore, the IID contains a computer chip that records BAC each
time the driver blows. If the BAC is over the pre-set limit, the report
can be downloaded and provided to law enforcement or the court. These
records also note if there has been tampering with the IID or whether
the driver failed to submit to a random or rolling test.
Stay tuned for more information on Annie’s Law and Ohio’s use
of Ignition Interlock Devices!