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Man breathing into a car breathalyzer

Is a Car Breathalyzer the Same as an Ignition Interlock? 

After a DUI or DWI, you may be required to install a device in your vehicle that monitors your blood alcohol content. They can go by many names, such as car breathalyzers or ignition interlock devices. However, these terms all refer to the same type of device. Understanding the basics of ignition interlock devices can help you successfully navigate having one in your vehicle.

What Is a Breathalyzer for Cars?

A breathalyzer for cars is a device attached to your car that determines the amount of alcohol in your system through a breath test. Before starting your car, you must breathe into the device to confirm that you haven’t been drinking. If the breathalyzer detects a certain amount of alcohol, your vehicle will not start. The limit can vary based on your state, but it’s usually much lower than the legal limit of .08.

Ignition Interlock Devices Explained

Ignition interlock devices are easy to use and only take a few minutes. So, how does a breathalyzer work in your car? You can typically activate them with the simple press of a button. Then, you blow into the breathalyzer, inhale, and blow again. It will provide your results and allow you to start your car once it confirms that you’re sober. Some devices also have cameras to confirm that the person taking the test is driving the car.

If you have a breath alcohol ignition interlock device in your car, you’re also subject to random, ongoing tests after you start the vehicle to ensure you’re still sober. The results of all tests from your in-car breathalyzer are regularly sent to your state’s monitoring system, so it’s critical to take them seriously. Failing your in-car breathalyzer tests could result in penalties, such as increasing the length of time you’re required to have an ignition interlock device or suspension of your driving privileges.

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When Breathalyzers and Ignition Interlock Devices May Be Required 

Car breathalyzers are a common requirement for people who have been convicted of a DUI or DWI. Some states make them mandatory for anyone with a DUI, while others may only use them for repeat offenders. You may be required to get an ignition interlock device after getting your license revoked to show you’re responsible enough to consistently drive without being under the influence. 

Understanding the Difference Between a Breathalyzer and an Ignition Interlock 

A car breathalyzer and an ignition interlock device are the same thing: a piece of equipment that monitors your breath alcohol content before and during the operation of a vehicle. However, not all court-ordered breathalyzers are ignition interlock devices. Some people who are on parole or probation may be required to use portable breathalyzers that regularly test their breath alcohol content, even when they aren’t driving. 

Tips on Choosing the Right Breathalyzer or Ignition Interlock Device for You 

If you’re required to get an ignition interlock device for your car, you’re responsible for having it installed and paying any associated costs. It’s important to check your state’s requirements and your court documents to ensure you select the right ignition interlock device. For example, some people may need to use a device with a camera, while others may not. Here are a few tips for picking out a quality provider: 

  • Look for local options that can provide you with installation assistance 
  • Explore providers with 24/7 customer support to assist with any issues 
  • Ensure that their reporting tools meet your state requirements 
  • Compare prices to find affordable options 

Living With a Breathalyzer or Ignition Interlock Device: Dos and Don’ts 

Having a breathalyzer in your car is usually temporary. By carefully following all requirements, you can get through your probationary period and eventually have it removed. Here are some tips: 

  • Do remain sober any time you plan to drive. 
  • Don’t have a friend take your test if you’re driving, as this violates the terms of your device. 
  • Do attend all calibration appointments. 
  • Don’t use mouthwash, mints, or other products with trace amounts of alcohol before using your breathalyzer. 
  • Do complete all random tests. 
  • Don’t tamper with the device. 

Getting the Right DUI Insurance 

If you have a DUI, having an ignition interlock device in your car isn’t the only step you need to take. Reach out to our partner site to get started with cheap SR-22 DUI insurance you need to drive. 

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