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terlock rather than the effectiveness of the program, even though it has been demon- strated that it is not “key” intervention that solely reduces recidivism. The use and manage- ment of data logger events is an important part of what makes the program successful.

Relying solely on the ideology and technology of the ignition interlock minimizes the success of the entire program. Monitoring particpants by reading the data logger is an essential part of a program, and what exactly that involves varies often or is undefined. Pinpointing how to monitor and read the data logger may help re- duce disparity in interlock results.

dRiVing the CRuiseR

how it woRks

The ignition interlock connects a motor vehicle’s ignition system to a breathalyzer that measures a driver’s blood al- cohol content (BAC). It employs at the initial ignition (or, car key intervention) and prevents the car from starting if the driver’s BAC exceeds the setting on the device. A driv- er who has been ordered to install an interlock on their vehicle must provide proof of installation in the vehicle prior to re-licensing. After re-licensing, the driver provides a breath sample prior to each vehicle start. Once in mo- tion, the device signals the driver to take random retests, to ensure the driver has remained sober, and/or another (sober) person did not start the car. New development in technology makes the use of digital cameras available to record the image of the person providing the sample, and stores the images with the data logger each time a sample is required. If the person fails or refuses the rolling test, the headlights of the car begin flashing until the car is stopped or the interlock is supplied a new breath.

Interlock Systems of Iowa, Inc.“The greatest value of the da- ta-logger is confirmation that every failed test is an event in which a driver under the influence was kept off the road.”

Installation alone has only marginal effects on driver behavior. Some states believe that placing the ignition interlock in the vehicle is sufficient as if the device emits supernatural powers that ensure drivers adapt responsible behavior. Research suggests that the proper protocol when using interlocks is a little more complicated than that.

Many state programs rely on the technology of the in-

The data logger records all events of the car—from random retest compliance to dates, times and alcohol levels to any effort to disable or circumvent the inter- lock. High BAC, failed rolling retests, rolling retest refus- al, power disconnects and low mileage (to indicate the driver is not using the car) are all recorded. The driver is required to report to a service center each month, where the data logger download of monthly events is sent elec- tronically to the authority that ordered the device. Any indication of high BAC, bypass attempts or other non- compliance results in a violation of the program and possible sanctions. There are multiple types of ignition interlock available from a variety of different vendors ap- proved by state agencies using guidelines established by NHSTA, and while each differs on the method of opera- tion and reporting, they contain similar data.

According to research findings, interlock and alcohol restrictions should be placed prominently on every indi- vidual’s driver’s license enrolled in the interlock program. The driver signs an agreement to only drive vehicles with ignition interlock installed and prohibiting any BAC. This

Fall 2008 | MOVE 19

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