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A closer look at Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2023 | Drunk Driving

Maryland police officers have many reasons why they pull someone over, including if they suspect someone is driving under the influence of alcohol. Someone who is caught driving while under the influence may be required to drive with an ignition interlock device.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device is a tool drivers use while actively operating their vehicles. This device contains a breath analyzer that drivers blow into while driving. Then, ignition interlock devices measure a driver’s breath alcohol concentration. These devices also contain a camera to verify a driver’s identity.

Driving with an ignition interlock device

In Maryland, a driver must register a breath alcohol content at or below .025 while using ignition interlock devices. If a driver’s breath alcohol content is over .025, an ignition interlock device stops a vehicle from starting to prevent drunk driving.

These devices also perform random re-tests. While driving a vehicle with an ignition interlock device, the driver will need to randomly blow into the device to complete these tests. Drivers failing their breath tests while driving must find a safe place to pull over. The ignition interlock system will never shut off the vehicle while a driver is operating it; however, the vehicle will not restart until blood alcohol content reaches safe levels.

How long do drivers use ignition interlock devices?

Maryland drivers who are first-time offenders must use an ignition interlock device for six months. Second-time offenders must use this device for one year. Repeat offenders must drive with interlock devices for three years.

Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program has prevented over 3,800 instances of drunk driving. While drivers might not be happy about having an ignition interlock device installed in their cars, completing this program can prevent them from losing their driver’s licenses.