What is life with an IID like?

The use of an ignition interlock device may be part of the penalties experienced after a drunk driving conviction in New York.

The experience of being stopped by police and arrested for suspected impaired driving can traumatic for New York residents. It is important for people to understand the penalties they may face if they are eventually convicted of a driving while intoxicated offense.

One of the penalties that New Yorkers may experience is the required installation and use of an ignition interlock device.

Basic function of an IID

As explained by Intoxalock, an ignition interlock device manufacturer, an IID measures a driver's breath alcohol level and sends that information to an electronic chip that controls a vehicle's ignition. A breath sample must be given before every trip in order to start a vehicle. If a breath test is not passed, a vehicle's engine will not be able to be started.

Once successfully on the road, a driver will be prompted to provide additional breath samples. These are designed to be given even while actively driving despite laws and information that warn against handheld use of electronic devices while driving. If one of these rolling retests is not successfully passed, a vehicle's horn may honk and the lights flash until the driver stops the vehicle.

Problems with successful use of an IID

While ignition interlock devices are intended to detect alcohol in a driver's breath, they are not completely without their glitches. Some foods or other substances may lead to positive readings after a breath test into an IID. Toothpaste or mouthwash are examples of some products that may cause problems for drivers. Coffee, creamers and pastries may also lead to inaccurate readings.

When using an IID, a driver may have to adjust habits so as to avoid that cup of coffee in the car on the way to work in the morning. Brushing teeth right before leaving the house may also need to change to allow time for the mouth to be clean enough to pass a breath test.

Vehicles requiring IIDs

All passenger vehicles driven by a person required to use an IID must be installed with the devices in order for the person to legally drive them. It is considered unsafe to install an IID on a motorcycle and therefore this is not advised. ATVs, boats and snowmobiles do not require IIDs.

How long a person must use an IID depends in part upon the nature of the charge. Some people may need to use an ignition interlock device for six months while others must use a device for a full year.

Upon being arrested for suspected drunk driving, New York residents are encouraged to talk to an attorney for help. This may allow people the chance to fully understand the law and their defense options.