The traffic laws related to content on this page are changing on Jan. 1, 2017. Get the details on Law changes for 2017.
How the program works
The Ignition Interlock Program is a remedial program for drivers who have received impaired driving suspensions. An ignition interlock device prevents a driver from operating a vehicle if they have alcohol in their body. Program participants are required to have the device installed in every vehicle they drive.
Drivers subject to an ignition interlock condition are responsible for all installation and maintenance costs.
Drivers must demonstrate a sustained ability to separate drinking and driving behaviors prior to completing the program.
The program is mandatory for conviction dates on or after June 27, 2014. Drivers requiring an ignition interlock device installation may apply for an exemption in exchange for a longer suspension period.
How ignition interlock devices work
- A built-in data logger records every event associated with the use of the interlock device.
- Prior to starting the vehicle, a breath sample is required. Once a zero alcohol breath sample is provided and the vehicle is running, additional breath samples will be requested at random intervals.
- If a breath sample is not provided when required or alcohol is detected, the device will detect and record a warning. The warning will be recorded in the device event log and, where applicable, record the blood alcohol content (BAC). The device will then activate an alarm until an acceptable breath sample is provided or disable the ability to operate the vehicle.
- Every 30 to 60 days the driver must make an appointment at the ignition interlock installation facility to have the interlock operating system serviced and to have the event log downloaded.
Drivers who meet the Ignition Interlock Program criteria will have the alcohol-sensing device attached to their vehicle ignition system.
The driver is prevented from starting and/or driving their vehicle if the device detects a preset level of alcohol. All program activity is recorded and monitored.
A driver registering fails or warnings, or inappropriate use or handling of the ignition interlock device may have their participation in the program assessed. Participants in the Ignition Interlock Program must adhere to a zero warning requirement while on the program. A driver may be extended on the program if warnings or fails are recorded by the device.
If the driver receives a suspension to their driver's licence while participating in the Ignition Interlock Program, their time in the program may be extended for the same amount of time as the duration of the suspension.
If the device is removed before the mandatory required time is completed, the driver's licence will be cancelled and suspended until an ignition interlock device is re-installed. The device must be installed for the mandatory time period before full driving privileges are reinstated.
Benefits of an Ignition Interlock Program1
Ignition interlock devices, when appropriately used, prevent alcohol-impaired driving by Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenders, resulting in increased safety for all roadway users. There are other benefits to ignition interlock devices, however, that enhance their value:
- Reduction in recidivism - Research has shown that, while installed on an offender's vehicle, ignition interlocks reduce recidivism among both first-time and repeat DUI offenders.
- Legal driving status - Ignition interlock devices permit offenders to retain or regain legal driving status, enabling them to maintain employment and manage familial and court-ordered responsibilities that require driving. This is a particularly relevant benefit, as many offenders without interlocks drive illegally on a suspended/disqualified licence, often after drinking. The installation of an interlock on the offender's vehicle reduces the probability of this occurring, thereby improving public safety.
- Offenders and families approve - A majority of offenders surveyed believe ignition interlock sanctions to be fair and reduce driving after drinking. Family members believed that ignition interlock devices provided a level of reassurance that an offender was not driving while impaired and reported a generally positive experience and impact on the offender's drinking habits.
- Predictor of future DUI behavior - The record of breath tests logged into an ignition interlock has been found to be an excellent predictor of future DUI recidivism risk. Offenders with higher rates of failed BAC tests have higher rates of post-ignition interlock recidivism, information that could be critical regarding whether to restore an offender's licence, and any conditions under which such action may occur.
Anyone can drive a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device if they comply with the program requirements. However, as the program participant, you're responsible for any activity recorded by the system. While other people are permitted to use the vehicle, each breath sample is recorded and applied to your record.
If family members or others will be using the vehicle while the interlock device is installed, we encourage them to come for training with you.