What is the ignition interlock device, how does it work, and what will it cost me?

As of January 1, 2012, all Oregon drivers participating in the DUI Diversion program must get an ignition interlock device installed in any vehicle they drive (there are a few circumstances in which this requirement may be waived).

How the Interlock Device Works

The interlock device (sometimes known as “blow and go”) requires a driver to blow into the ignition interlock device in order to start the ignition. If alcohol registers in the interlock device, it will prevent the vehicle from starting. Oregon Administrative Rules defines an “ignition interlock device” as “an instrument designed to measure the BAC of an individual and which prevents a motorized vehicle from starting when the BAC exceeds a predetermined and preset level.” 

Time and Expense

As part of the requirement for installing the interlock device, the driver will be required to take the vehicle to an authorized dealer on a monthly basis to have data downloaded from the interlock device. The dealer then will send the data to the DMV. This data will inform the DMV of any failures registered (i.e. the ignition interlock device prevented the vehicle from starting because of the presence of alcohol in the person blowing into the device). This download process at the dealer usually takes between 10-15 minutes. You also should expect to pay between $50-$80 per month for the ignition interlock device. In cases in which a driver is indigent, the monthly fee may be waived and paid for by the Intoxicated Driver Program Fund.

Rob Crow
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Licensed to practice law in all State & Federal Courts in Oregon.
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