An ignition interlock device is an in-vehicle alcohol breath-sensing device that measures the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of the driver. The device prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a BAC 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, see the Ignition Interlock Program information sheet.

How it works

The ignition interlock device must be used by anyone who operates the vehicle. Training is provided by the service provider upon installation and by request, during the program.

Before you start your vehicle, you will need to blow into the device to provide a breath sample. If your BAC is over the pre-set limit, your vehicle won't start.

Once your vehicle is started, the ignition 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 sample, or if your BAC exceeds the limit, the device will issue a warning, record the event and activate specific alarm systems (for example, lights flashing, horn honking) until you turn off the ignition.

You do not have to be the registered owner of a vehicle to have the ignition interlock device installed. You can rent or borrow a motor vehicle to complete the Ignition Interlock Program participation term.

An ignition interlock device may be installed in a company vehicle as long as the registered owner provides written authorization and has proof of insurance. For the Mandatory Interlock Program, any ‘warns’ or ‘fails’ registered on the ignition interlock device, regardless of who is operating the motor vehicle, will be the responsibility of the Ignition Interlock Program participant. This may also result in the participant’s Ignition Interlock Program term being extended.


You must bring the vehicle to the installer for an inspection 30 days after the initial installation, followed by additional inspections at least once every 60 days.

The installer will inspect the equipment and transfer the recorded information to Driver Fitness and Monitoring for review.


If you:

  • attempt to tamper, cheat or bypass the ignition interlock device
  • have your driver’s licence suspended or cancelled
  • are subject to any additional Traffic Safety Act suspension or convicted of any additional driving-related Criminal Code (Canada)

you may:

  • be immediately removed from the Ignition Interlock Program
  • have your restricted driver's licence revoked and Ignition Interlock Program participation terminated until all reinstatement conditions have been completed
  • receive a Notice to Attend an Inquiry with the Registrar

You are expected to receive zero ‘warns’ and ‘fails’ while participating in the program.

An Ignition Interlock Program term may be extended if you:

  • receive a ‘fail’ recording with a BAC level of 0.040 or higher
  • receive a ‘warn’ recording with a BAC level of 0.020 to 0.039
  • do not provide a ‘pass’ within 10 minutes of a ‘warn’ or ‘fail’
  • are in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program and have any breaches and/or violations

You can appeal a Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program term extension through the Alberta Transportation Safety Board within 30 days by purchasing an appeal application from any Alberta registry agent.

Failure to obtain and/or maintain a restricted driver's licence may result in:

  • a Driving while Unauthorized charge by law enforcement
  • vehicle seizure
  • removal from the Ignition Interlock Program


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)
Fax: 780-422-6612

Ignition interlock installation

For information on ignition interlock device installation:

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