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You Asked: What are the consequences of failing an interlock test?

October 14, 2020

The specific consequences of failing an ignition interlock test depends on factors such as what state program you are participating in, what BAC you blew, and whether this was an initial start-up test or a running re-test. Consequences will fall into 1 of 2 categories; initial device effects, and long-term consequences to your state interlock program.  

Initial effects are caused by the programming in your interlock device, which are by law required to respond in specific ways to certain alcohol violations.  

Consequences to your program will be enforced by your state interlock agency after interpreting the data from the interlock device. Some states are stricter than others when judging interlock data, so make sure that you're aware of your state rules.  


Initial Effects 


If you fail an initial interlock test, your device will lockout for 5 minutes. If you believe this initial fail was not caused by alcohol in your system, take the time to drink some water and clear your mouth of potential contaminants. After five minutes, the device will request another breath test. If you fail the second breath test, you may be locked out for a longer period of time, typically 30 minutes.  


If you fail a random rolling retest (while driving) an alarm will sound, but you will still be able to drive. Wait until you have reached a safe place to pull over, because once you have turned off the engine, you will have to wait for a lockout period (5-30 minutes) until you can provide another breath test and start your vehicle again.  


*Note: After a violation, keep an eye on your device. If it displays 'VIOLOCK' and starts to count down days, you may have triggered a permanent lock out. You will be able to drive your vehicle for 7 days, but once the countdown expires, your interlock device will permanently lock out. Before this happens, make sure to book in and attend an unscheduled service.  



Consequences to program 


Generally speaking, failing an interlock test is considered a violation, and this data will be sent to your state regulatory authority. They will ultimately use this data to make a decision about your continued participation in the program. Different states will have different policies, but it is still recommended that you keep evidence of the circumstances behind any fails you don't believe were caused by consumption of alcohol. Depending on your state, this evidence may be taken into account (but do not rely on this).



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