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Ignition Interlock Device Terminology

As we represent you on possible Ignition Interlock Violations, it is critical that you understand what each term means as we discuss your defense and legal options:

The following words and terms are superficially defined in the only regulation that is published by the NCDMV regarding Ignition Interlock: the Ignition Interlock Program Standards and Procedures (“Standards and Procedures”)

Alcohol – ethyl alcohol, also called ethanol (C2H5OH) and refers to any substance containing any form of alcohol as defined. The problem is that the Ignition Interlock device cannot specifically distinguish this chemical from similar “interferents”

Anti-Circumvention Feature – a feature or circuitry incorporated into the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device “BAIID” that attempts to prevent activity that would cause the BAIID not to operate as intended.

BRAC – the amount of alcohol in a Participating User’s breath that shall be measured by the number of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.  The problem is that the device is not a measuring instrument, it is a safety device.  But the NCDMV tries to use this safety device as a measuring instrument.  It simply is not!

BAIID – a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device that

  • connects a Motor Vehicle to an analyzer that measures a Participating User’s breath alcohol concentration (or an interferant);
  • prevents a Motor Vehicle from starting if the Participating User’s breath alcohol concentration (or an interferant) is at or above the Fail Point; and
  • is equipped with the ability to perform a required and a Running Test and to electronically log the user’s breath alcohol concentration during vehicle start/operation, attempted start/operation, Required Retest and Running Test as well as circumvention and tamper attempts.

A BAIID includes any auxiliary features, such as, but not limited to, a camera and attachments, which operate in conjunction with the BAIID but may not constitute a component part of the BAIID.  A BAIID is a part of the IIS.

Breath Test – an analysis of the breath alcohol concentration (or an interferant) of a Deep Lung Breath Sample. Except that the device does not contain a Slope detector (as is contained on the Intox ECIRII (which is a measuring device rather than a safety device)).

Calibration – the adjusting and testing process approved by NCDMV that ensures an “accurate” alcohol concentration reading is being obtained by the BAIID. The problem is that there is no ongoing testing, and the device is getting bumped alot in vehicles and often malfunctions.  In addition, the Standard Deviation is hidden and cannot be determined, so there is no standard for “Accuracy” in the scientific use of the term, but a pretext in administrative hearings.

Commissioner – the Commissioner of the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles as defined under N.C.G.S. 20-2.

Compliance Hearing – This term was initially used by the NCDMV to establish Condition Restorations hearings to see if the participant is in compliance with the signed contract.  Later, after the Legislature adopted Ignition Interlock Requirements for ACR (Alcohol Content Restrictions) the NCDMV began calling ACR violation hearings under the same term, but statutorily the DMV does not have the authority to call for compliance hearings under ACR.   Speak to an experienced Ignition Interlock Attorney at Dummit Fradin to discuss this defense to alleged violations.

Deep Lung Breath Sample – also known as “alveolar breath sample,” means an air sample that is the last portion of a prolonged, uninterrupted exhalation and that gives a quantitative measurement of alcohol concentration from which breath alcohol concentrations can be determined. “Alveolar” refers to the aveoli, which are the smallest air passages in the lungs, surrounded by capillary blood vessels and through which an interchange of gases occurs during respiration. While the regulation calls for this deep lung air, the device does not have a way of determining when this is reached.  The safety device does not contain the proper instrument (a slope detector) to make this determination.

Device– a breath alcohol ignition interlock Device or BAIID.  These terms are synonymous.  The “Device” is a part of the Ignition Interlock System (IIS).

Early Recall – condition, signaled by an audible or verbal and visual indication on the BAIID that requires the Participating User to return the vehicle to the Service Provider’s Service Center for unscheduled service and monitoring.

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Exit temperature – Human breath has an exit temperature close to 93F degrees (34C).

Fail Point – the point at which the breath alcohol levels determined by NCDMV and the General Statutes of North Carolina are violated.  These have been changing and range from .00 to .02 to .04 depending upon under which statute you the Ignition Interlock Device is required.

FTA – Forensic Tests for Alcohol, a branch of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.  Not to be confused with the more general term “Failure to Appear” in court for a traffic matter.

Free Restart – the ability to restart the vehicle again within a preset short period of time without having to blow again.  This is generally provided so that if your vehicle stalls or stops suddenly you can get it restarted quickly.

Ignition Interlock System (IIS) – the BAIID and the entire Service Provider business operation organization, including but not limited to customer service, Service Centers, data storage, and transmittal of information to NCDMV, the courts, and/or any required entity under the General Statutes of North Carolina.

Initial Test – the first breath sample provided on a BAIID which is required to operate a Motor Vehicle and/or the first breath sample following a Temporary Lockout.

Interlock Event – vehicle operator activity that is recorded by device log, including but not limited to vehicle starts and attempted starts, Breath Tests, required and Running Tests, Lockouts, power outages and Device tampering.

Lockout – the device blocks the vehicle from starting.

Manufacturer – the actual producer of a BAIID that assembles the product and distributes it to Service Providers.  In some cases, the Manufacturer (in the early days Monitech) may also be the Service Provider.

Motor Vehicle – every vehicle as defined in North Carolina General Statute § 20-4.01(23).

NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA has rules and regulations promulgated in Washington and requires North Carolina to adopt and enforce certain standards or lose our Highway Funding.  Legalized Federal Blackmail.

NCDMV – the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.

Participating User – an individual who must use an interlock device to operate a Motor Vehicle.  The term “user” is synonymous.

Participating User’s Compliance Term – how long you must use the Ignition Interlock, including but not limited to, requirements of the North Carolina General Statutes and/or driver’s license restoration agreements (under a Conditional Restoration Agreement) with the NCDMV.

Permanent Lockout – when the Ignition Interlock Device will not start until it is reset by the providing company (Smart Start or Monitech).

Program Standards and Procedures – the guidelines and requirements established by the Commissioner to determine standards to certify or approve a provider to provide service in North Carolina.

Required Retest – an additional requirement to provide a Deep Lung Breath Sample below the alcohol Fail Point.

Running Test – a test of the User’s breath alcohol concentration required at random intervals during operation of the Motor Vehicle.  The term “Running Test” is synonymous with the term “rolling retest” as defined under the NHTSA guidelines.

Sample-Free Restart – After a stall, a sample-free restart is possible for 2 minutes. This free restart does not apply, however, if the BAIID was awaiting a rolling retest that was not delivered.

Saturation – Human breath is usually completely saturated with water. The range of pressures of exhaled air range up to about 30 inches of water.  These and other characteristics of exhaled breath might at some point be used as restrictions placed on a sample to require that it fall within some range of acceptable elements of a breath signature so as to minimize circumvention from non-human sources. While there are not currently saturation tests, there are pressure sensors on Ignition Interlock Devices. NHTSA is looking for ways to determine if breath has been filtered through some filtering device. Filtration systems are capable of removing alcohol vapors from breath samples. Most filtering systems, however, also remove water vapor, change the temperature or pressure or otherwise change the human breath signature.

Service Call – an action by the Service Provider at a location other than a Service Center of the provider upon request of a Participating User for assistance exclusive of Ignition Interlock initial installation, Calibration, monitoring and data downloading.

Service Center – the physical location where a Service Provider installs, calibrates, monitors, removes, replaces, and services the provider’s Ignition Interlock and downloads data from the Device assigned to a Participating User’s vehicle.  Ignition Interlock repair may also be performed at a Service Center by qualified Service Provider personnel.

Service Provider – Currently Monitech, Smart Start and a new company Alcolock.

Tampering – defined as an act or attempt to alter, defeat, disable, circumvent or interfere with the operation of the Ignition Interlock, including but not limited to any act intended to start the Motor Vehicle without first taking and passing a Breath Test, or physically tampering with the BAIID to disable or otherwise disconnect it from its power source.

Temporary Lockout – an Ignition Interlock feature that shall not allow the Motor Vehicle to start for a preset period of time.  Make certain that you stay with your vehicle and get it started after a lockout, or the DMV will count this as grounds to take your driving privilege.

Violation – an event or events which breaches the rules for use of an Ignition Interlock established by the NCDMV and/or the General Statutes of North Carolina.  The problem with the DMV enforcing this is that they will not publish ANY rule publicly.  In the case of Conditional Restorations, there is a private contract with the driver that can be enforced according to its terms, but for an ACR there are no published rules or regulations!  The DMV will assume that a log that shows a Breath Test indicating a BrAC at or above the Fail Point upon initial startup, a refusal to provide a Running Test Deep Lung Breath Sample, a Running Test with a BrAC at or above the Fail Point, and tampering are all violations.  But there are no published rules, and no published standards.

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