Ignition Interlock Devices in Masssachusetts

A breath alcohol ignition interlock device, known as an IID or BAIID, is a device which is designed to lock out the ignition of a driver whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is above a pre-set limit. In Massachusetts, the blood alcohol level is set at .02. The ignition interlock device is connected to the vehicle’s ignition system and a handset is installed under the vehicle’s dashboard.

In order to start an ignition interlock equipped vehicle, the driver must blow into the handset, to have his or her breath analyzed to determine its alcohol content.  If the driver’s BAC registers at or above a pre-set reading, the vehicle will not start and a violation will be recorded. Violations at or above a certain pre-programmed level may result in a lockout. When a lockout occurs, the vehicle will not start until the lockout is cleared. Some lockouts can be cleared by following instructions from an ignition interlock service provider while others may require the vehicle to be towed to the service center.

In Massachusetts, initial start violations, which occur when an ignition-interlock equipped vehicle will not start due to an alcohol reading at or above .02, may result in a lockout. However, they will not result in a license suspension or revocation.

To insure that the driver has not consumed alcohol while driving or solicited someone to provide the initial start breath sample, the ignition interlock device will require the driver to perform rolling re-tests, at random intervals, while the engine is running. A rolling re-test reading of .05 is considered an Ignition Interlock Violation in Massachusetts and it will result in a 10 year or lifetime license revocation if the driver is found guilty after a violation hearing. If you have received an ignition interlock violation notice, you should contact a lawyer.

Two or more rolling re-test violations during a service period showing alcohol readings of between .02 and .05 will also result in a violation which may result in a 10 year or permanent license revocation. Likewise, two ignition interlock device lockouts due to missed rolling re-tests will result in a violation as will two missed monthly IID service visits.

Massachusetts ignition interlock users are required to attend monthly service visits to have their IIDs downloaded, calibrated, and maintained.  Ignition interlocks record all breath samples, engine starts, engine stops, loss of power, requested breath tests, and circumvention, disconnection, and tampering attempts.  This information is downloaded on a monthly basis and the service provider transmits the information to the Ignition Interlock Unit of the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Quincy. The RMV analyzes the data to determine if violations occurred.  The Mass. RMV schedules hearings if finds evidence of violations.