Minnesota law is tough on drunk driving. As explained by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, penalties for even a first offense may include loss of driving privileges, fines and jail time. Some people may be able to reinstate their ability to drive but may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in order to do so. An IID basically locks a vehicle’s ignition. The only way a driver can unlock the ignition is to take and pass a breath test first.
According to Intoxalock, drivers who must use IIDs do not only have to take an initial breath test when wanting to start a vehicle. Once a vehicle has been started, subsequent tests will be required. Often referred to as rolling retests, these can be done while a vehicle is being driven and will happen at random times so a driver will never know when to expect a test. If a driver fails one of these rolling retests, the IID system will initiate the vehicle horn honking and lights blinking until the driver stops and turns off the vehicle.
Ignition interlock devices may be sensitive to substances that are not actually alcohol or that may contain alcohol. For example, some pastries may metabolize in the body in a way that releases chemicals that an IID may read as alcohol. The alcohol found in some oral hygiene products can contribute to a failed test. People who must use IIDs should allow time between consuming or using many items and taking tests.
It is also important for Minnesotans to know that anyone including mechanics who operate their vehicles must take and pass breath tests for as long as the IIDs remain installed.