Question: What is an ignition interlock device and when might one be required in Maryland?
Answer: Well, an interlock ignition device is a device that the state can have, sort of order you to have installed on your car, which requires you to blow into this device before you start your car, and this device will test your exhaled breath and testing it for alcohol. And they’re looking for alcohol that exceeds .02% of alcohol, which is a very low number.
So what that means is you really cannot be drinking alcohol of any kind, you can’t drink it prior to starting your car, you can’t even drink it the night before, because the machines are that sensitive to pick that up. That would actually include mouthwashes that contain alcohol, such as Listerine, would set off the device. If the device gets set off, it would give you an opportunity in a matter of seconds to try again, but if the car or if the device perceives that there’s alcohol in your breath, it won’t start, and then it’s going to record the fact that it didn’t start and it’s also going to record what your BAC was, and that’s going to be recorded in the machine and then the results of that machine get downloaded by the company that installs it.
It gets downloaded on a monthly basis, and then it gets sent to the MVA and the MVA takes appropriate action against you. So these devices are intended to stop people from operating an automobile with really any level of alcohol in their system. And in addition to that, the state of Maryland is in the process right now of expanding its interlock ignition program.
As it stands right this second, April 2016, they have only been required in cases where somebody has blown a .15 or more, or if there has been a conviction in court it typically requires the interlock, but that law is in the process of changing and come October 1 of this year, they are going to pass a law that’s going to really require an interlock device on anybody who blows between a .08 and a .14. It appears that they are going to be requiring an interlock for a three-month period of time to really send that message home that they don’t want you driving at that level, which is going to be interesting because this happens every day of the week to people.
Get DUI’s and blow in that area, particularly a .08 or .09, which is an illegal number—at least it is now. Back in the old days, it used to be .10, but now it’s illegal and shortly they are going to require an interlock, which is going to be strenuous to say the least, but that is what an interlock device is.