What is an IID (Ignition Interlock Device)
If you have ever read up on DUI/DWI information, then you have probably heard the term IID (Ignition Interlock Device) or BAIID (Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device). This article is here to help you better understand what these devices are and how they work.
What is an IID (Ignition Interlock Device)?
It is a device similar to a breathalyzer that is used to check your blood alcohol level before starting up your car. An IID is tied to the car’s ignition system. Before the driver can even start the car, he/she must use the breathalyzer or IID by exhaling into the device to check the alcohol level in his/her system. If the results return greater than the blood alcohol concentration programmed into the device (varies between countries), it will prevent the engine from being started.
How Does an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Work?
If the driver fails to pass the IID breathalyzer test, the device will interrupt the signal that is being sent from the ignition to the starter so that the vehicle will not start. If his or her alcohol level meets the minimal alcohol guidelines in his/her state, then the vehicle will proceed with the normal start-up process.
The IID will require random breathalyzer tests even after the initial test has been taken and passed to ensure the safety of the driver and others. If he/she fails the random breathalyzer test given by the IID or refuses to take the test, the device will log the incident, warn the driver, and start an alarm until the ignition has been turned off, or until a clean breath sample is provided.
A common misconception is that the IID will turn the engine off if alcohol is detected. If this were true, the manufacturers of the device would be at a high liability because this could create a very unsafe situation for the driver and others around him/her.
Modern IIDs look very similar to normal breathalyzers that a police officer would use to check the alcohol level of a driver under the influence of alcohol. The IID uses an ethanol fuel cell sensor, which goes through a chemical oxidation reaction (COR) to check the alcohol level.
Using COR is the most accurate way to check the alcohol level in the human body. The cheaper way that is commonly used is infrared technology, which does not give an accurate reading since it is not chemical-specific. The IID has its own memory system to keep a log of the driver’s performance.
This log is then downloaded by the authorities in control, usually in 30, 60, or 90-day intervals. Periodically, the IID will be calibrated. This process is done by using a pressurized alcohol-gas at a recorded alcohol concentration. The installation, calibration, and maintenance are usually paid by the offender or the one charged with the DUI/DWI.
IIDs In the USA and Other Countries
Many countries are now requiring the IID by law and more countries are adopting this technology every year. In the U.S., most states now permit judges to order the installation of an IID into a repeating offender’s vehicle as a condition of probation. In some states, first offenders may be required an installation if mandated by law. Some politicians in Sweden, Japan, Canada, U.S., and other countries have called for such devices to be equipped as standard procedure and equipment in all motor vehicles sold.
The IID technology has a bright future ahead of it. Every year, improvements are made on these devices to provide the best safety needed for the drivers and others. Many countries are considering making the IID standard equipment in all vehicles that are purchased in their country. If a device can be proven to significantly improve the safety of oneself and others, then that device will be developed through a standard law and may even be fully funded by the country that wishes to standardize the technology.