How To Handle An Interlock Device Lockout

January 31, 2019

Experiencing interlock device lockout can be stressful. Understanding what causes ignition interlock device lockout can help alleviate some of the stress if it happens to you. There are a number of reasons why an interlock device might become locked. In this article, we’re going to break down some of the most common causes of interlock device lockout. We’ll discuss how you can navigate lockout when it happens, and along the way, we will also provide some strategies for avoiding a lockout in the first place.

From the outset, it should be understood that programs that require interlockdevices have stringent requirements that must be met through the duration ofthe program, and failure to meet these requirements can result in penalties.Due to the fact that interlock device programs and laws vary by state, youshould closely consult your program’s requirements to ensure that you adhere tothem at all times. In other words, you must fully understand your program’srequirements and comply with those requirements for the duration of the program.

Failed or Missed Rolling Retest

Ignition interlock devices sometimes require tests once the vehicle has been running. Thesetests occur at random times when the vehicle is already running, and give thedriver a short period of time to safely pull over and complete the test. Thisprocess is known as a rolling retest, and it is a requirement to complete thesetests when you are prompted. Failed or missed rolling retests are one of themost common causes of device lockout.

Missing or failing a rolling retest is considered a program violation, so it isincredibly important to make sure to complete the test when you are prompted.That being said, if you experience lockout as a result of a failed or missedretest your ignition interlock device will enter service mode. At that point,you will be required to return your device to the service center. If youexperience device lockout due to a failed or missed retest, you will have awindow of time within which you can drive your vehicle back to a servicecenter. Failure to do so within this window will result in an inability to start your vehicle.

Failed Test

A common reason for interlock device lockout is a failed test. If your interlockdevice detects alcohol during a test it will result in a failed test message.If you have not consumed alcohol, you may be able to complete a retest after ashort period of time. If this is the situation, your best solution is to simplywait until you are able to retest and complete the process as normal.

If you experience a failed test and have not consumed alcohol, it may be becauseyou have used another product that has alcohol in it. Ignition interlockdevices are very sensitive, so you should never use products that containalcohol before submitting a test. The best suggestion is to use products thatare clearly labeled as free of alcohol. Common causes of failed tests includemouthwashes, hand sanitizer, and perfumes and cologne. A failed test can alsoresult from certain food products like candies, flavored drinks, and bread, soif you consume these products be sure to wash out your mouth with water andwait 3 minutes before testing.


Your ignition interlock device needs to be calibrated regularly at a service center. Some programsrequire calibration every 30 or 60 days, and your device will display ifrequired calibration is pending. You must adhere to the requirement forcalibration or you may experience lockout and incur a program violation. Thesimplest solution to avoid this outcome is to be mindful of when calibration isrequired and to bring your device in for calibration without delay. Calibrationonly takes about 10 minutes, so be sure to carve out some time in your schedule to get it done when required.

Removal or Circumvention

Attempting to remove your ignition interlock device, or circumvent the device in some way, will result in device lockout. Avoiding this outcome is straightforward; don’ttamper with or attempt to remove or circumvent the device in any way. Device removal must be completed by a trained technician, and your device will detectif you attempt to remove it on your own. Attempting this is considered aprogram violation that will be reported to your overseeing agency, so be sure to avoid any tampering with the device at any time. If you have adhered to your program’s requirements and it’s time to have your device removed, contactcustomer support for your device to schedule a removal appointment. Device removal typically takes around 1 hour and will return your vehicle to its state.[1]



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