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Getting you back on the road

DUI Survival Guide

Overwhelmed with all the requirements of your new interlock condition licence and don’t know where to start? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. On this page we’ve got some big tips for avoiding common interlock program mistakes and getting back your full licence.

First let's give you a broad overview of the process:

We install an interlock in your vehicle
You get an ‘I’ condition licence
Every month you return for servicing
Computer Data
We send your data to your state authority
Your state authority will make a decision about your continued participation in their program
You get your full licence back
You get your full licence back and remove your interlock


A good strategy to assist you in graduating your program and avoiding extra costs is to not log any violations. Each state has different requirements where certain violations will result in needing an unscheduled service or will extend your alcohol interlock program. For more information refer to your user guide.

 Avoiding violations is more easy than you might think. Read this section very carefully because it includes common causes of violations. Click on each topic for more information.

Do not drive with alcohol in your system.
Your "I" condition specifies that you may only drive with 0 alcohol in your system. Your alcohol interlock device will allow you to drive with a reading of up to 0.02 to account for natural variations in readings. However even if the device finds you under this threshold, use your judgement to determine whether your BAC is truly 0. If you are pulled over by police and have a BAC reading of over 0 but under 0.02, this will still be considered a drink driving offence.
Do not skip a rolling retest.
So long as the engine is running, watch out for random retests. It doesn't matter if you're just about to turn the engine off, or if you've arrived at your destination, you must take every requested test. Any missed tests will be recorded and may be considered a violation of your program.
Do not leave your car unattended with the engine on.
For as long as the engine is on, the device will continue to request retests regardless of whether you're present or not. If you miss a random re-test it's still a violation, even if you were not present in the car at the time.
Do not disconnect your car battery for over 20 minutes.
This rule is imposed by state bodies to prevent attempts to circumvent the interlock device. If you are having work done on your engine, make sure to call Smart Start in advance and get a receipt and documentation for the work done.
Do not eat or drink anything other than water in the 10 minutes prior to driving and while you are driving.
This means food and drink, but also includes other substances such as toothpaste, breath mints and mouth wash.
Drink plain water before you take each breath test
Always have a bottle of plain, unflavoured water on hand. Before every test take a sip of water to rinse your mouth of any trace of alcohol. This ensures that what is being tested is your BAC, and not the sourdough you ate for breakfast.
Only let someone you trust drive your car, and make sure they are as familiar with the rules as you are.
If they commit any violations, you'll be the one responsible.
Your alcohol tolerance can change over time.
Even if you used to recover from a night of heavy drinking by the next morning, your tolerance might have changed since then. Understand your limits, and keep in mind that alcohol can stick around in your body longer than you expect.
Don't use your interlock device as a breathalyser.
Every failed attempt will be on your record and affect your program, so if unsure, don't attempt to drive. You may find a personal breathalyser to be a good investment. Read more about personal breathalysers here or purchase Smart Start's own in-house personal breathalyser.
Don't miss your scheduled service.
You have a service window of 2 weeks: 7 days before your scheduled date and 7 days after. If you miss this window you will be unable to operate your vehicle and may have to pay for remote unlocking.
Note any messages on your interlock display.
If a violation occurs that causes a lockout, the device will begin a 7-day countdown before it locks out. Make sure to book yourself into a service centre before the countdown expires.

In the case of an accidental violation keep a record or documentation of what happened. That may come in use when appealing any decisions by your state governing body.  

 If you follow these tips and rules, you should have no problem completing your program.


Looking for more information? We’ve answered many of your questions below. Check out the articles below, which we’ve written specifically for people in your shoes.