What Data is Captured by That Alcohol Detecting Ignition Interlock Device?



More and more courts are ordering first time offenders and multiple DUI/DWI offenders to install and use an alcohol detection ignition interlock device on any car they drive as a term of their court probation.

The courts have 2 main reasons for doing so: 1) to prevent known DUI drivers from driving while under the influence again; and 2) for collecting and monitoring information on the behavior of the offender. They can report where you are going, where you went, how long you were there, and how often, how much and and what time you drink alcohol.

Different models of IID have different capabilities. It may be wise to study your options in advance if you are required to use one. There are many different manufacturers of alcohol ignition interlock devices. Those commonly used in the US all work in a similar way, but have different monitoring capabilities.

Simply put, they 1) measure blood alcohol content from the driver; and 2) they collect, store, and report personal data.

Is that something to worry about? Does that mean an ignition interlock device spys on its user?

Yes, probably. The details of what these devices can collect and report is scarier than a 3rd grade PE Teacher with a gun.

What do we mean? We were about to tell you the good news was that there was no IID device yet with a camera. But then to our mild surprise, we found one.


The data captured and stored by these modern surveillance machines can be used as a basis for a probation violation charge, or for determining your habits, and likely whereabouts. The data can also be a source of prosecution evidence in criminal or civil proceedings after an auto accident or insurance claim. And that is worth worrying about.

Here is a summary of the data an ignition interlock device may collect. They collect time stamped data such as:

1. All breath tests (starting and running tests);
2. Blood Alcohol Level of each test result;
3. Records of failure to submit breath test sample;
4. Turning off of the vehicle;
5. Failure to turn off the vehicle following a failed breath test;
6. Attempts to tamper with the device or remove it;
7. number of miles driven by the vehicle;
8. Duration of driving trips;
9. GPS Records of a vehicle’s travel;
9. Records of lockouts and early recalls;
10. Use of the emergency override option

What else? With the assistance of our freedom loving friends at Google, using “Google GPS Operating Server“, some models can track a user’s every move in real time.

So there you go. As if you needed another reason to want to avoid a DUI charge, now you have to worry about being watched and tracked – not just breath tested. Is it something to worry about? You decide.

Can a person ordered to use and install an IID find out the capabilities of their model options in advance? Yes. Asking questions can help. Pre-purchase research is the best way to limit the unnecessary release of personal information.

Questions? Leave a reply below. We try to answer them all.

More detailed info sources:

Alcohol Interlock Curriculum

LifeSafer Ignition Interlock Provider


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