Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program

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What is the Maryland ignition interlock program?

The Maryland ignition interlock program is designed to deter drivers from operating a motor vehicle while they are impaired or under the influence of alcohol. An ignition interlock is a device that connects to a vehicle ignition system.

The device is designed to measure a drivers breath alcohol content (BAC). The device uses a breathalyzer to measure the BAC. If the breathalyzer detects alcohol in a driver’s breath, the machine prevents the vehicle from starting or continuing to operate.

The breath analyzer tests drivers before the car is started and conducts random tests as the vehicle is operated, also knows as “rolling tests”. These tests are to ensure that the driver has not consumed any alcohol when the vehicle is started and the same driver is operating the vehicle.

Individuals may be required to participate in the ignition interlock program if they are directed by a District Court Judge, a Circuit Court Judge, and Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) or the Medical Advisory Board of the Motor Vehicle Administration. In addition, drivers may be required to participate in the ignition interlock program in lieu of a suspension or revocation.

How do I get an ignition interlock installed?

The ignition interlock devices are not sold or leased by the motor vehicle administration. Ignition interlock devices are installed and maintained by private manufacturers and service providers. Approved Maryland ignition interlock service providers are Smart Start, Draeger Interlock, National Interlock, Guardian Interlock, and Alcohol Detection Systems (ADS).

How much does the ignition interlock cost?

There are a number of costs associated with an ignition interlock device. Most providers charge and installation can range from $150 to $200. Some providers charge a similar fee to remove the device. In addition, as required by law every 30 days, Device must be calibrated and the data logs must be downloaded. The providers charge a fee that ranges between $60 and $100 at every 30 day checkup. The fees for the ignition interlock devices vary depending on the provider.

Monthly monitoring of your device.

Drivers that are participating in the ignition interlock program are required to report to their service provider every 30 days to have the device calibrated and the data from the previous 30 days download. If a driver fails to report for their 30-day checkup, the driver can be terminated from the program and a suspension or revocation may be imposed.

What does the ignition interlock device record?

Ignition interlock devices record every start, attempted start of the vehicle, as well as any breath tests taken while the vehicle is being operated along with the date, time and alcohol level, if any. In addition the device will record any attempts to disable or circumvent the device.

What happens if my car has to be serviced?

If a driver has to have their vehicle serviced then the driver should notify your interlock provider and provide documentation from the mechanic that the vehicle was serviced. It’s also advised to contact your interlock provider and supply them with the information on the service of the vehicle and any documentation they need to confirm the vehicle is or was serviced.

Does the ignition interlock device record alcohol levels?

Yes, the ignition interlock device detects a BAC of .025 or higher, a bypass attempt. or any other indication of non-compliance.  If the device indicates one of these conditions, then the driver may be in violation of the ignition interlock program. Any violation of the interlock program can result in a suspension or revocation.

What happens when I get the interlock device installed?

After you selected a service provider for your device, that provider will install, service, and calibrate your system. They are also required to train the user on how to use the device. The providers must install an interlock device for eligible participants within 10 days of a request and the provider must supply a toll-free 24-hour emergency response number for all participants.

Other than alcohol, what can cause the device to fail?

There are many other item that contain small amounts of alcohol which may cause the system to fail and record a violation. Those items include asthma inhalers or other medications that contain trace amounts of alcohol. It’s also been reported food item containing yeast can cause failures as well as mouthwashes containing alcohol can cause a failure.

Maryland DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer – Randolph Rice

If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) in Maryland and you’re facing a trial date or you have questions about the ignition program. Contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 for immediate legal help. Randolph Rice is a Maryland DUI/DWI defense attorney.

For more information visit the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s Ignition Interlock Program page.


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