If you’re lucky enough to get your driver’s license back after getting a couple of DUIs, you’re probably going to have a restricted license accompanied by an interlock ignition device installed in your car for at least one year.
Unfortunately, I’ve had to go through this process, so I currently have the Lifesafer Ignition Interlock device installed in my car. Even though it is designed to save lives, it can also be a safety hazard, not to mention having some other downfalls.
If you plan on getting a Lifesafer Ignition Interlock device installed in your car in the future, read on as I list the pros and cons of having one.
Pro: Saves lives
Hopefully you’ve learned your lesson by now and wouldn’t dare drive your car under the influence. If for some unfortunate reason you did try to drive your car drunk, the device will fail you after you blow into it, which would not allow your car to start. It will also record a violation down and you’ll lose your license.
Pro: Allows 2nd chance for DUI offenders
Having an ignition interlock device installed in your car will allow someone who is just getting their license back a chance to prove themselves to the Secretary of State or DMV that they are a responsible driver and that they’re at low risk of getting another DUI.
Con: Distracts you while driving
Texting and driving is now illegal because drivers aren’t watching the road while texting; they’re looking down at their phone. The ignition interlock device randomly beeps while you’re driving, indicating that you have to blow into it. After you take your breathe test, you have to look at the device to make sure the pass light turns on, so when you’re doing that, you’re not watching the road, putting lives at risk.
Con: Could possibly shut your car off while driving
There is a certain way you have to take your breathe test. You have to make a humming tone for a certain amount of time in order for you to pass. If you don’t do it the exact way that you’re supposed to, the abort light will come on. If you get three aborts in a row, your car either won’t start or it will actually shut your car off while you’re driving. I’d hate to be in the middle of the highway when that happens, again, putting lives at risk.
Con: Takes almost five minutes to warm up in cold weather
You have to turn your key forward in your ignition to turn the device on. In normal weather it will beep about 10 seconds after it gets turned on, allowing you to take your test. In cold weather it can take up to five minutes for the ignition interlock to warm up and then after that you can attempt to start your car. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do in the freezing cold is wait that long to be able to start my car.
Con: Could possibly make you get your car towed
You have to take your car to get it serviced either once a month or every other month so they can download the logs of every test that you took. If you’re not able to make it on your scheduled day, you better call in ahead of time and make another appointment for a day before your original date. If you don’t, your car will be locked out, you won’t be able to start it, and you’ll have to get it towed to the service center. To make it even worse, it gets recorded as a violation and you could lose your license all over again.
The Lifesafer Ignition Interlock device is definitely a good thing since it does prevent potential drunk drivers from starting their car. However, I think they need to make a lot of changes to it, because it can also be a terrible safety hazard and a big inconvenience.