Understanding ignition interlock & breathalyzer device technologies

How do ignition interlock & breathalyzer devices work?


Ignition interlock devices, when installed into a vehicle, prevent a user from starting the car when their breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) is above the limit set by their state (usually 0.2). The device requires the driver to blow into it prior to being allowed to start their car and if alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start. 

Ignition interlock devices are integrated into the vehicle’s ignition system when the device is placed in the car by a certified installer. Using fuel cell technology, the device can accurately measure the BrAC of the user providing the breath sample. Intoxalock, one of the largest interlock providers in the United States, was instrumental in working with scientists to develop and perfect the fuel cell technology that is the industry standard today. Fuel cell technology allows for extremely accurate readings when compared to the semi-conductor technology that was used in the past.

Technology is constantly evolving to make interlocks even more reliable and effective. Now, many providers are able to integrate advanced features in their devices including a camera unit, GPS tracking and real-time reporting. The camera ensures the correct person is the one providing the breath sample. GPS tracking can be extremely beneficial when the user has jurisdiction limits and real time reporting allows monitoring authorities to immediately see the results of start-up attempts with the ignition interlock. 

Technology is also changing the calibration process for ignition interlock devices. Devices are required to be calibrated regularly (usually every 30-60 days) to remain accurate. Remote calibration units have been developed by some interlock providers, like Intoxalock, that allow for quick and easy calibrations at the service centers. 
Technology is sure to continue to be developed that will change the interlock industry in the future. 


Some of the top ignition interlock devices are made by:


These devices are superior in that they have approved methodologies and accessories that make them the best ignition interlock devices if you are looking to buy an ignition interlock device. Advanced features and technology are important as some states require standards to be met in order to fulfil the court order. Other companies that offer ignition interlock devices often mask their technology in fancy casings and other advertising, but are sometimes suspended for using unapproved technology and accessories. 

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