Michigan Drunk Drivers: Ignition Interlock Device, The Blow and Go

1. Who is required to have an interlock device?

  • Revoked License: Your license will be revoked indefinitely if you obtain multiple drinking and driving convictions in Michigan as follows. Revocation will occur if a person obtains 2 or more drinking and driving convictions within 7 years and 3 or more convictions within 10 years. After a habitual drunk driver has served the minimum period of revocation/denial, he may be eligible for a Driver License Appeal hearing. If the hearing is held after October 1, 1999, and the person is authorized for a restricted license, the hearing officer must order the installation of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle the person intends to operate. The interlock device must be installed for the first year of license restrictions. The person cannot drive until after the interlock device has been installed on the vehicle and proof of installation has been submitted to a local branch office of the Secretary of State.
  • Super Drunks: In addition to those who are given a restricted license after a period of revocation, effective October 31, 2010, a first time offender who is convicted of having a high blood alcohol content drunk driving (.17 or greater) will be required to have the ignition interlock installed on a vehicle. If you are convicted pursuant to Michigan’s Super Drunk Law, effective October 31, 201, you will receive a hard suspension of license for first 45 days (no driving) and restricted with the requirement of ignition interlock for the remaining 320 days. Individuals who violate their restrictions will obtain another license penalty equal to the above; another 45 days hard suspension and another 320 days on ignition interlock. In addition, the new laws require vehicle impoundment when a person is caught driving without the interlock device after being placed on restrictions.

2. How does the interlock work?

An ignition interlock system, referred to as Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) is a breath alcohol analyzer with computer logic and internal memory that interconnects with the ignition and other control systems of a motor vehicle. The purpose of the BAIID is to measure the bodily alcohol concentration, or blood alcohol content (BAC) of an intended driver and to prevent the motor vehicle from being started if the BAC exceeds the .025. The Ignition Interlock is wired into the electrical system of the vehicle. The restricted driver is given training to use the interlock. An ignition interlock tests for alcohol on a driver’s breath. The offender can only drive in a vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed. The vehicle operator is required to blow into a small handheld alcohol unit that is attached near the driver side compartment. The device will ask for random retests while driving. The car will not start if you have a startup test violation within a monitoring period, or rolling retest failure, or the device detects tampering. The State of Michigan will not be sympathetic if you used mouthwash or cold medication containing alcohol. These test violations will result in reinstatement of revocation. In addition, the police will know if you are required to have an interlock device installed on a vehicle by a simple record check.

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