Ignition Interlock Program
Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program, established in 1989, is managed by the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA). The Ignition Interlock Program offers customers who have been arrested for impaired driving an alternative to license suspension or revocation – allowing them to continue to drive, with careful monitoring.
NEW! Effective October 1, 2019 all newly-installed ignition interlock devices will be equipped with a camera. Customers who already have an interlock device installed before October 1 will not be required to install a new device, unless:
- Their current device fails and a new one needs to be installed;
- The customer acquires a different vehicle and a new device needs to be installed; or
- The customer is removed from the program and re-enters the program (after a 30-day waiting period).
Ignition Interlock Program - Frequently Asked Questions
Drinking and driving is a serious public health and safety issue. On average, impaired driving accounts for roughly one out of every three roadway deaths in Maryland.
Ignition Interlock is a tool that helps keep drunk drivers off our roads. It allows drivers to continue driving -- sober. Ignition Interlock Program participants can only operate motor vehicles that are equipped with an ignition interlock device.
An ignition interlock device connects a motor vehicle’s ignition system to a breath analyzer that measures a driver’s breath alcohol concentration. The driver must blow into a mouthpiece connected to the device before starting the vehicle. If the device detects alcohol above the set limit, it will not allow the vehicle to start. The device also asks for additional tests while the vehicle is being driven. It is not necessary to stop driving while taking a retest.
Maryland Vehicle Law and the Code of Maryland Regulations establish the requirements for participation in the Ignition Interlock Program, the standards for certification, installation, repair and removal of interlock devices, the eligibility requirements for participants, and the standards for Service Providers.
If eligible, a driver can choose to enroll Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program instead of serving the Administrative Per Se suspension period (see Impaired Driving Laws). An Ignition Interlock Election form is located on the reverse side of the driver’s copy of the Order of Suspension that was issued during the arrest.
If you elect to participate instead of serving an administrative license suspension, you will be enrolled in the Ignition Interlock Program for:
· 180 days, if you submitted to a test indicating an alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 but less than 0.15,
· One year, if you submitted to a test indicating an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher, or
· One year, if you refused to submit to the test.
If you successfully complete the Program for your Administrative Per Se sanctions, you may receive credit toward future Ignition Interlock Program enrollment that may be required as a result of a criminal conviction from this same incident.
Drivers may also be referred to the Ignition Interlock Program by:
- Maryland District Court, as a condition of probation;
- Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH); or
- MDOT MVA’s Driver Wellness and Safety Division, as a requirement of reinstatement.
The MDOT MVA's Administrative Adjudication Division (AAD) may offer or require a driver to participate if they:
- have accumulated sufficient points on their driving record;
- are a repeat offender; or
- violated a previously-imposed alcohol-related driving restriction.
Under Noah’s Law, drivers are required to participate in Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program for the following convictions:
· Driving under the influence (DUI);
· Driving while impaired (DWI) while transporting a minor under the age of 16;
· Driving while intoxicated with an initial breathalyzer test refusal; and
· Homicide or life-threatening injury by motor vehicle while DUI or DWI.
The law affects anyone convicted in a Maryland Court of a DWI/DUI offense. For Out-of-State license holders, DWI/DUI conviction notices are sent to the licensee’s home state for the administration of any other penalties or license sanctions that may apply.
Your first step should be to carefully review all the materials that you received, either during the arrest, or from the MDOT MVA. It may be helpful to review Alcohol Test Failure or Refusal.
If you have been ordered to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program or have decided to opt-in, contact one of the MDOT MVA’s authorized Ignition Interlock Service Providers and schedule an appointment to have the ignition interlock device installed on the vehicle that you will be driving. When the device is installed, the provider will show you how to use it, advise you about the monthly maintenance and reporting requirements, and provide you with written proof that the device was installed.
Next, take the written proof of installation and your current driver's license to any MVA branch office and request an "ignition interlock-restricted" driver's license.
To be eligible to participate, you must meet the following conditions:
1. Your driver’s license is not currently suspended, revoked, canceled, or refused; and
2. Within thirty (30) days of the date of the Order of Suspension you must:
· Have an ignition interlock system installed in your vehicle by one of the approved Service Providers;
· Surrender your valid Maryland driver’s license or, if you do not have your license, sign a certified statement that your license is no longer in your possession; and
· Elect in writing to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program by completing and returning the bottom portion of this form along with the sealed enrollment form from the service provider to any full service MVA office to obtain a non-commercial Maryland driver’s license restricted to the operation only of vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device.
If you possess a commercial driver’s license, in order to participate in the Program, you will be required to downgrade to a non-commercial driver’s license.
When you receive information about the program, you should be advised of the minimum length of time that you must participate. However, this time period could be extended if you violate any of the program rules or if you have other driving-related problems. Also, it is important to understand that you will not begin receiving credit for participating in the program until you have had the ignition interlock device installed and obtained the restricted driver's license.
A participant is deemed to have successfully completed the Program and a successful completion letter generated once the Administration receives certification from the Service Provider showing no violations in the final three (3) months of the participation period.
Drivers are required to report to a service provider every 30 days to have their device calibrated and the data downloaded. Failure to report can result in removal from the program and suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
The device stores records every transaction, along with the date, time and detail of any violation, and stores images captured by the camera when each breath sample is taken. The information is reported to the MDOT MVA includes:
- Information identifying you, your vehicle and other program information;
- Any instances where you had a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC);
- Any instances where you tried to start the vehicle without taking the test;
- Any instances where you failed the rolling retest or refused to take it;
- Any bypass of the device, which is if you tampered with or disconnected the device;
- Images captured by the camera during required tests;
- The number of times your vehicle was started and stopped; and
- The odometer reading of the vehicle.
Violations of the Program rules and requirements include, but are not limited to the following:
· Failure to have the ignition interlock device installed and obtain a Maryland driver’s license restricted to the operation only of vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device;
· Failure to appear for the required monthly monitoring visit every thirty (30) days;
· Operating a motor vehicle not equipped with a functioning interlock device approved for use in the Program;
· Failure to abide by the terms and conditions of the Service Agreement with the Interlock Service Provider, including payment of all costs and fees associated with the Program;
· Tampering with, bypassing, or otherwise removing or rendering inoperable the interlock device, or allowing someone else to do the same;
· Attempting to start or operate the vehicle with BAC greater than .025;
· Failure to submit to retests after starting the car; or
· Any license suspension or revocation imposed while participating in the Program.
There are some everyday items that contain small amount of alcohol and may cause the system to record a violation. Medications such as asthma inhalers or medications containing small amounts of alcohol may cause problems as well. The driver will be held responsible if any of these alcohol-based products cause them to violate the system. To prevent this, your Service Provider will instruct you regarding ignition interlock failures and what you can do to avoid them.
Each time you have one or more violations during a monitoring period, you will receive a letter of notification, and your required time in the program will be extended by one month. If there is a fourth monitoring period containing a violation, you will be removed from the program and your original suspension or revocation will be imposed.
If a driver is removed from the program due to violations, they may re-enter the program for the entire originally assigned time, after a minimum suspension period of 30 days.
The correspondence you receive from MDOT MVA indicates the name of your case manager. However, due to the volume of cases, your case manager is not always available. The customer support personnel who answers your call can assist you with many of your questions and requests. If he/she cannot help you, a message will be given to your case manager who will contact you within 24 hours.
Participants are responsible for all costs associated with the program participation.
There is a cost to obtain an interlock-restricted driver’s license.
There is a cost to obtain a corrected driver’s license when the restriction is removed after the customer is no longer in the Program.
Ignition interlock Service Providers may charge a fee for installing the device and for required monthly servicing. Vendors have varying installation and servicing charges.
Once you have completed your required participation period including any extensions, please bring your vehicle to your ignition interlock service center any time after your completion date for one final download of data. The MVA will receive this data overnight. If there are no violations noted, a successful completion letter will be generated and mailed. You may take the successful completion letter to any MDOT MVA branch office to have the restriction removed from your driver's license. Following this, you may have the interlock device removed from your vehicle.
If you remove your interlock device before your participation period is complete, your Service Provider will notify MDOT MVA and your license will be suspended.
Driver Wellness and Safety (DW&S) Division
6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062
For telephone questions:
MVA Customer Service Center:
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System: