Ignition Interlock Device

A Brief 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?

West Virginians 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 reoffend, 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 West Virginia Interlock program combines technology and consistent monitoring to help prevent convicted drivers from getting a DUI after their license is reinstated.

West Virginia Interlock Program

Also called the Test and Lock Program, West Virginia’s interlock initiative provides qualifying offenders with an IID instead of a license suspension. Typically, first-offenders qualify unless there are other aggravating factors like a fatality or injury in their case.

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. Attorney Harley Wagner can evaluate your case and determine the best strategy for you.

Attorney Wagner has over 20 years of experience with West Virginia DUI cases and has guided thousands of clients through the legal process. From first offense DUIs to fatal DUI accidents, Attorney Wagner has a thorough understanding of the law and how it applies to your case.

The Wagner Law Firm handles DUI cases exclusively, so you can be sure that Attorney Wagner will make your case a priority. Attorney Wagner is proud to serve clients in WV with their cases.

For more information about interlock devices, check out this blog:

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