7 Tips to Avoid an Alcohol Interlock Violation

Whether you are new to using a car alcohol interlock device or have had an alcohol interlock for a few months, knowing how lockouts and interlock violations work will help you best utilise your device.

First, it’s crucial to understand that there are two sorts of lockouts: temporary and recall lockouts. We will also go through some preventative measures you can take to avoid a failed test, such as preventing false positives.

What is a Temporary Alcohol Interlock Lockout?

Failure to pass a breath test, results in a temporary lockout. The length of time a lockout lasts is determined by your jurisdiction. Your vehicle will not start if the device displays a “Fail” result, indicating that your breath alcohol content (BrAC) was above the specified limit.

A 5 minute lockout is imposed after the first failed test. You will be requested to retest after that, and be able to start your car and drive away if the retest is successful. If unsuccessful a subsequent lockout will begin for either 5 or 30 minutes, as determined by your jurisdiction. Multiple failed breath tests may result in a permanent lockout that requires a code to regain functioning, depending on the jurisdiction.

What is a Permanent Alcohol Interlock Lockout?

If you cause a violation the interlock will commence a 7 day countdown so that you return to the Service Centre to have an unscheduled service. If you fail to return during this time the interlock will go into a Violation Lockout additionally, if you fail return for service it will also go into a service lockout.  You won’t be able to take a test or drive your vehicle if you are permanently locked out. You must either call Guardian to purchase a lockout code or pay to have your car towed to an Authorised Guardian Interlock Service Centre.

Tip #1: If You Suspect You’ve Had Too Much to Drink, Don’t Try to Drive

The alcohol interlock prevents you from drinking and driving, so it’s crucial not to try to start the car if you suspect you’ve had too much to drink. It cannot be used as an alcohol breath testing device as the data is recorded and may be reviewed to determine completion of your program, so if you fail the breath test several times, you will be subjected to additional service requirements and expenses or a possible extension to your program.

Guardian sells hand held breath testing devices that comply to Australian Standards, these can be used to test yourself if you think that you might cause a violation to your program or just want a cheap form of insurance after you have completed your program, please call Guardian so that we can discuss with you.

Tip #2: Always Rinse Your Mouth with Water Before Taking a Test

Car alcohol interlock devices are sensitive instruments that can detect even trace alcohol levels in the air. As a result, certain substances containing methyl groups, including the following, might report a false positive:

  • Air fresheners
  • Breath mints or sprays
  • Cleaning fluids
  • Colognes
  • Coolant fluid
  • Dark chocolate
  • Glue paint
  • Gum
  • Gummy bears
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Inhalers
  • Mints
  • Paint removers
  • Perfumes
  • Radiator fluid

If you encounter any of these substances or get a fail and haven’t had any alcohol, wash your hands and mouth thoroughly with water, examine your surroundings, and make sure the air in your car is moving, then try again when the interlock prompts you.

Tip 3: Never Leave the Car Unattended When the Engine is Running

If you leave the car and do not see a random retest being asked, it is still considered a missed retest. It’s a violation if you don’t offer a sample when a car alcohol interlock device test is requested, so make sure to switch off your engine when you get to your destination to avoid this common mistake. Always check to see whether your interlock asks for a random test before shutting off your car.

Tip #4: Ensure You Keep Track of Your Serving Appointments

Your car alcohol interlock device must be serviced every 30 to 90 days, depending on the jurisdiction. This servicing guarantees that the device continues to function correctly and that your monitoring agency receives the most accurate results possible.

If you don’t visit a certified service centre before the deadline, it will enter a Permanent Lockout after a certain number of days. If you need to postpone an appointment for whatever reason, to avoid extra expenses, make sure you do this at least 24 hours before your appointment.

Tip #5: Let Guardian Know if You Are Having Any Scheduled Car Maintenance

Before the planned service appointment, organise to purchase a Mechanics Code to allow your vehicle to be worked on. This will avoid the mechanic causing violations while they work on your vehicle.

Tip #6: Never Attempt to Tamper or Circumvent Your Interlock Device

There is a lot of disinformation on the internet concerning tampering with or evading an alcohol interlock. Don’t be deceived as this might risk any success you’ve achieved in your programme thus far. Tampering, circumvention and interlock removal are almost impossible with Guardian car alcohol interlock device technology. If you attempt, you’ll be locked out of your device, a violation will be recorded, and you could have to pay more money to get your interlock device back.

Tampering can involve, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Breaking any anti-tamper seal on any portion of the device, including cables and connections.
  • Removing an interlock device without permission (in some jurisdictions there are fines that can be applied to the unauthorised person that removes the interlock).
  • Inflicting any kind of physical damage on the device.
  • If the device records a battery disconnection lasting more than 15 minutes.

Circumvention can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Have someone else blow the breath test for you.
  • Using something other than human breath to provide a breath sample.
  • Trying to obscure or remove the camera.

Tip #7: Allow Only Persons You Trust to Operate Your Car

Even if your car is equipped with an alcohol interlock, anyone with a valid driver’s licence can use it. Even if they are not on an alcohol-restricted licence, but remember you are still liable for other drivers’ behaviours when driving your vehicle.

Everybody who drives a car with an alcohol interlock installation must utilise the device properly. Any breaches caused by another driver will still appear on your record, and you may be subjected to unscheduled services or programme extensions. So, before you lend your vehicle to someone, make sure you provide them with sufficient training.

If a violation is committed by another driver, having proof you were not driving might be useful.

Why Choose Guardian Interlock for Your Interlock Device Installation?

If you want a breathalyser for car ignition, your first thought is probably, “Where can I get an interlock device installed near me?”.

At Guardian Interlock, we understand you have options for ignition interlock providers. For example, Guardian Interlock is an Australian independent, family-owned company that has provided alcohol ignition interlock programs – from interlock device installation to removing the interlock device – to safety-conscious individuals, private companies, and state authorities for over twenty years, preventing the operation of vehicles by impaired drivers.

Guardian Interlock also provides alcohol interlocks for private and commercial customers who voluntarily install a Guardian alcohol interlock. These customers range from businesses enhancing their road safety posture to private individuals who believe they may be susceptible to problematic drinking and driving.

We provide voluntary interlock device installations, servicing and removing interlock devices to users in metropolitan and regional areas nationwide via our network of approved service centres.

Guardian understands your need for a vehicle, whether for work, commuting, family or other responsibilities. We’re dedicated to assisting clients to remain compliant and on the road. That is why our customer care representatives are available to take your calls 8.30-5.00 Monday to Fridays.

We also have an assistance line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in an emergency. Please bear in mind that during COVID-19, the number of enquiries has increased so that delays may be incurred.

Guardian Interlock is one of Australia’s most reputable interlock suppliers, with locations across Australia. Therefore, you can be confident that your Guardian approved service centre is qualified for interlock device installation, servicing and removing interlock devices, and our devices comply with your state’s regulations. Email admin@guardianinterlock.com.au or call 1300 881 005 today to get started with your alcohol interlock program.

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