History of the Ignition Interlock Device

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI, you’re probably familiar with ignition interlock devices. Let’s take a look at the history of the ignition interlock device.

What Does an Ignition Interlock Device Do?

Illinois residents convicted of a DUI face license suspension, fines, and possible jail time depending on the circumstances. Drivers may also be required by the court to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles.

These devices keep your ignition locked until you can pass the attached breathalyzer test. So, when you get into your car, you have to turn your key and blow into the mouthpiece. If you pass, your vehicle will start, but if your blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit, your care won’t start.

(Not So) Small Beginnings

The first interlock device was developed in 1969. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued the first official safety standard involving IIDs by the early 1980s. California was the first state to pass legislation allowing the use of interlock devices.

Since the invention of the IID, these devices have been a crucial method of keeping drunk drivers off the road. In February of 2012, all states in the U.S. have laws mandating or allowing interlock devices.


A 2010 survey found that between 35-75% of all IIDs effectively prevent drunk driving. However, a more extensive study in Maryland found that while drivers with interlock devices are less likely to re-offend, the percentage is still relatively low.

The key to IID success is keeping a close eye on drivers with the devices. Consistent monitoring along with the device decreases the possibility of a repeat offense. The Illinois BAIID protocol combines technology and consistent monitoring to help prevent convicted drivers from getting a DUI after their license is reinstated.

Illinois Interlock Devices

Once the BAIID is installed, the Secretary of State's office reads and monitors the BAIID throughout the duration of its installation, and the BAIID alerts the Secretary of State's Office if the driver attempts to drive under the influence or tamper with the BAIID device.

The BAAID uses state-of-the-art technology to read a driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) before allowing the driver to start the vehicle. The device is installed in the ignition and prevents the vehicle from being started if the driver's breath sample registers a BAC of .025% or more. The driver is required to provide an initial breath sample to start the vehicle and at random intervals throughout the trip.

If you have a non-aggravated first offense DUI with a BAC of less than 0.15%, you can submit an application to the program. Once your application and $100 fee are submitted, Interlock Program employees will review it and notify you of their decision.

An aggravated first offense DUI offender can also apply to the program, but applicants will need to keep the device for at least ten months.

I Don’t Want an Interlock Device - What Can I Do?

If you are convicted of a DUI, and the court orders you to drive with an Ignition interlock device, speak to an attorney about your options. Our team at Johnson Law Group has over 100 years of combined experience and we have helped countless clients with their DUI cases.

Our firm works with a variety of DUI related matters including DLR hearings to out-of-state licenses and more. We believe that a mistake should not determine the rest of your life. Our attorneys can help you protect your freedom so you can have quality of life.

If you have been charged with a DUI, contact Johnson Law Group.

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