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Drunk driving: What is an ignition interlock device?

Those arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in Connecticut may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. These devices require the driver to breathe into a tube, much like a Breathalyzer test, to determine the person's sobriety before they can start the vehicle.

The first step for those getting an ignition interlock device installed is to make sure that the proper paperwork is filled out and that any applicable fees are paid before bringing the vehicle in to have the device installed. The ignition interlock device has to be installed by a state-approved vendor. Once the installation is complete, the individual must send the form to the Department of Motor Vehicles so that the installation can be verified.

The vehicle has to be brought back to the same vendor that did the original installation once a month to have it calibrated. Missing one of these scheduled calibrations means that the individual is not in compliance with the terms of the ignition interlock device program, and the person's license will be suspended.

During the time period the device is in use, the driver must keep the DMV informed of any changes to the vehicle or the person's information. Any issues with the ignition interlock device must be reported immediately. After the time period the individual must use the device has passed, the person will receive a restoration notice in the mail.

It is very important that individuals participating in this program take it seriously and abide by all of the terms. Any driver found guilty of tampering with or trying to circumvent the device by having another person blow into it can face license suspension and other penalties.

Source: Department of Motor Vehicles, "Ignition Interlock Device Program" Nov. 11, 2014

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