Overview

An interlock device is an in-vehicle alcohol breath-sensing device that measures the breath alcohol concentration level of the driver. The device prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a breath alcohol concentration level over a pre-set limit. It is located inside the vehicle, near the driver's seat, and is connected to the engine's ignition system.

For more information, please refer to the Ignition Interlock Program Participant Guide.

How it works

The interlock device must be used by anyone who operates the vehicle. Training is provided free of charge by the service provider upon installation and by request when participating in Alberta’s Ignition Interlock Program.

Before you start your vehicle, you will need to provide a breath sample by blowing into the interlock device. If your breath alcohol concentration level is over the pre-set limit, your vehicle won't start. Once your vehicle is started, the interlock device will ask you to provide breath samples at both random and pre-set times while the engine is running.

If you do not provide a breath sample when requested/prompted or if your breath alcohol concentration level exceeds the limit, the interlock device will issue a warning, record the event and activate specific alarm systems (for example, horn honking) until you turn off the ignition.

Vehicle accessibility

If a participant does not currently own a vehicle, they may rent or borrow a vehicle from their family, friend or employer to complete their participation term.

At the time of interlock device installation, the registered owner needs to provide written consent and supply proof that appropriate insurance coverage has been obtained.

If the interlock device is installed into a shared vehicle, any breath samples registered on the interlock device, regardless of who is operating the vehicle at the time, will be the responsibility of the participant. Breath samples in the warn or fail range could result in an extension to the participation term or revocation from the Ignition Interlock Program.

Inspections

You must bring the vehicle to the service provider for an inspection 30 days after the initial installation, followed by additional inspections at least once every 60 days, or as otherwise designated by Driver Fitness and Monitoring.

The installer will inspect the interlock device equipment and wiring and transfer the recorded information from the interlock device to Driver Fitness and Monitoring for review and assessment.

Consequences of violating terms and conditions

Certain violations of the Ignition Interlock Program terms and conditions may result in any of the following consequences:

  • warning letter
  • participation term extension
  • requirement to attend a Driver Improvement Interview with the Registrar of Motor Vehicle Services (Alberta Transportation)
  • referral for a medical review
  • revocation from participating in the Ignition Interlock Program where you will be unable to drive

Examples of such actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Breath samples in the fail range recorded on the interlock device (with a breath alcohol concentration level of 0.040 or higher)
  • Breath samples in the warn range recorded on the interlock device (with a breath alcohol concentration level of 0.020 to 0.039)
  • Inappropriate use or handling of the interlock device (for example, attempting to tamper, circumvent and/or by-pass the interlock device)

Driver Fitness and Monitoring expects participants are able to provide breath samples that do not fall in the warn and fail range while participating in the Ignition Interlock Program.

Failure to obtain and/or maintain your restricted driver's licence while participating in the Ignition Interlock Program may result in:

  • being charged with driving while suspended and having your vehicle seized by law enforcement
  • revocation from participating in the Ignition Interlock Program where you will be unable to drive
  • not receiving credit towards your required term in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program

Requesting review

The Traffic Safety Act allows for certain decisions related to your Ignition Interlock Program participation to be reconsidered by the Registrar within 30 calendar days of the original decision. It is important to note the only applications eligible for reconsideration are those that are able to provide the following:

  • indication of error made on the original decision, or
  • new information that was not available to/considered in the original decision.

Should you wish to have a decision reconsidered by the Registrar, or if you have any further questions regarding the Registrar Reconsideration process, please visit the Registrar Reconsideration process.

Contact

Connect with Driver Fitness and Monitoring:

Driver fitness monitoring contact form

Phone: 780-427-8230
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)

Hours: 8:15 am to 12 pm, and 1 to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)

Connect with the Registrar Reconsideration process:

You must complete an online application.

If you have any further questions regarding the Registrar Reconsideration process, please visit the Registrar Reconsideration website.

Ignition interlock installation

For information on ignition interlock device installation:

Website: Smart Start Canada
Toll free: 1-844-432-4776 (in Alberta)

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