Using and Passing a Car Breathalyzer Test


The purpose of ignition interlock devices is to help keep everyone safe on the roads. Interlock devices do not allow drivers to start their vehicles if they fail a breath test. While the legal BAC (blood alcohol content) limit in most states is .08 percent*, ignition interlocks don’t allow any significant amount of alcohol to be present. It varies by state, but is typically between .02 and .026 percent.

In addition to this, every ignition interlock device requests random retests during most trips, which prevents offenders from having a sober person take the initial test, then driving off. Interlocks are very important to the health and safety of all drivers, yet many still attempt to circumvent their IID to start their car.

Not only is this irresponsible and illegal, but these car breathalyzers cannot be easily bypassed. Attempting to cheat your ignition interlock can result in large monetary fines, as well as elongated license suspensions. You might be tempted to try one of these methods for getting around requirements with your IID:

  • Bypassing circuitry wires from the IID to the car’s wires — IIDs will sense when someone is messing around with their wiring. Tampering with the wires of your IID will result in a lockout. This requires servicing from the manufacturer and will be reported to your monitoring authority. This can lead to severe repercussions in the form of monetary fines and the extension of your IID requirement length.
  • Using a “breath-filtering” device to mask any signs of alcohol — Some companies offer products that claim to cover any signs of alcohol from one’s breath. This might be tempting, but there are two distinct problems with circumventing your IID using one of these products. First, these products have been proven to fail measured against their claims. Also, if your ignition interlock device has a camera, these cameras can easily spot if someone is using one of these breath filtering devices and it will be reported to their monitoring authority as an attempt to bypass their IID.
  • Having someone else blow for you — This is one of the more frequently mentioned ways of bypassing an IID found throughout the internet, despite the numerous reasons against it. The majority of IIDs are now installed with cameras and it will be recorded and reported to their monitoring authority if they have someone else provide a breath sample to start the car. Ignition interlock devices feature random retests while the car is on to ensure the driver did not become intoxicated after clearing the initial test or that they did not use someone else’s breath to pass the initial test. Either way, using someone else to provide a breath sample is an easy way to get caught attempting to tamper with your IID and can further extend the length of your IID requirements.

Ignition interlock devices are meant to prevent people from drinking and driving and to keep the roads safer for everyone driving. If you think bypassing an IID is worth it, remember that following a majority of these “proven methods” found online will most likely lead to additional offenses added to your record and heftier fines you will have to pay.

Ignoring the requests for a retest will not work either. There is a grace period of a few minutes, but all missed retests are reported to the monitoring authority.

*Utah is the only exception, with a legal BAC limit of .05 percent

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