What Does a Warning Mean on Your Interlock Device?

February 20, 2019

If you were recently required by the courts to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, then you may have questions about the device and how it functions. At Low Cost Interlock, we want to ensure that our customers know the ins and outs of their device so they can avoid any further trouble with the law, especially for an honest mistake. To that end, today we will discuss what exactly a warning on your interlock device means.

Interlock Device Warnings

Interlock devices are alcohol detection systems installed in a vehicle’s ignition system. In order to start the vehicle, the owner must pass a breath test, proving that there is no alcohol in their system and that they are safe to drive. These devices are made up of two parts:

  • The LCI-777 Handset – The apparatus you exhale into for three seconds, which is made up of the mouthpiece, the color display, left button, right button, and power button.
  • The LCI-777 relay module – The device that connects to the handset, measures the BAC and grants approval for the car to start.

To start your car, turn the keys to the on position. This action will boot up the interlock device. Once the device is active, it will prompt you to submit a breath sample.

To submit a sample, inhale deeply, seal your lips around the mouthpiece, and breath out steadily for at least 3 seconds. If your sample is working, the device will produce a tone which will be followed by a click, letting you know to stop exhaling.

The device will analyze the sample and if the BAC is below the pre-set threshold, the screen will display, “Pass.” However, at certain times, the LCI-777’s color display will flash a red warning light on the screen. This can happen for one of two reasons:

  1. Alcohol was detected in the sample
  2. It is time for a device recalibration

Alcohol on The Breath Warning

If a driver submits a sample and a red light flashes repeatedly on the screen, this warning is meant to alert the driver that the device was able to detect alcohol in the sample, but that there was not enough alcohol present to result in a failed test. If a warning light flashes, the car breathalyzer will not stop the vehicle, but it will be logged in the device’s user report. This functions as:

  • A red flag to authorities if multiple warning signals are recorded
  • A warning to the driver that if they choose to continue driving that they could fail the rolling retest.

To avoid an alcohol on the breath warning, you should not drink any kind of alcohol prior to driving.

There is no such thing as a “False Positive”

All ignition interlock devices are made to read all alcohol. You may not be aware of the fact, but many products and foods contain trace amounts of alcohol in them. Mouthwash is the most common reason for an alcohol detected warning flash thanks to its high concentration of alcohol, but other products include:

  • Altoids
  • Breath sprays
  • Chocolates
  • Cinnamon rolls or donuts
  • Colognes
  • Dentyne or other spicy gums
  • Gummy bears
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Inhalers
  • Liquid medications
  • Liquid or gel air fresheners
  • Mints
  • Mouthwash
  • Perfumes
  • Radiator/coolant fluid
  • Windshield wiper fluid

The presence of these substances either on your breath or circulating in the air of your car’s cabin could trigger a positive alcohol reading (remember the device reads all alcohol). To prevent this, be sure to rinse out your mouth with water and wait for fifteen minutes before attempting to start the vehicle. Also, roll down your windows and air out the cabin to diffuse any trace particulates of alcohol from the air.

Recalibration Warning

According to federal laws, all interlocks must receive a sample of at least 1.5 liters of breath in order to measure blood alcohol content. These devices require maintenance and recalibration every 30, 45, or 60 days in order to verify that they are meeting accuracy requirements. An interlock owner has 7 days past the recommended service interval to bring in the device for recalibration.

For those 7 days, the device will display a warning signal upon power-up that states it needs servicing. If after 7 days you have failed to comply with recalibration, your vehicle will become immobilized until the device is reset. To avoid this, simply find a location near to you and bring it in for recalibration. The process takes 10 minutes at a service center and then you will be good to go until the next service date.

Low Cost Interlock

Your Low Cost Interlock device may flash a warning sign if it detects alcohol on your breath or if the device requires servicing. To prevent a warning sign from occurring simply avoid drinking and driving and be sure to keep your calibration appointments.

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