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Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is an alcohol ignition interlock program?
2. Is anyone eligible for the program? Is it mandatory?
3. Why would someone want to participate in the program?
4. How do I apply to the program?
5. Will the program be available to all Yukon residents, including those outside of Whitehorse?
6. Once a driver is approved to participate in the program, what happens?
7. What is the cost to have the device installed?
8. How does the Ignition Interlock Device work?
9. How is information gathered?
10. How is the information used?
11. Can an Alcohol Ignition Interlock device be installed in other types of vehicles as well as cars and light trucks?
12. What happens if someone tries to drink and drive with this device?
13. Why does a driver have to take a driving test before entering the program?
14. What are the consequences for non-compliance with the Interlock Program?
15. Are there other offense provisions associated with the Interlock Program?
16. Which other jurisdictions have ignition interlock programs in place?
17. What effect have these programs had in other jurisdictions to reduce the incidence of drinking and driving?
18. What is the Yukon Driver Control Board?
19. For more information, contact the Yukon Driver Control Board



1. What is an alcohol ignition interlock program?

It is a program which is administered by the Yukon Driver Control Board. It is designed to modify the behaviour of drivers who have alcohol impaired driving conviction(s). It provides a device that prevents a vehicle from being started or operated when the driver has been drinking.
The program also allows drivers to demonstrate that they have been able to not drink and drive, and therefore no longer pose a threat to those who share the roads with them.
Participation in the program is closely monitored by the Driver Control Board to ensure public safety is maintained. The program provides a middle ground between full disqualification and full licence reinstatement.



 
2. Is anyone eligible for the program? Is it mandatory?

The program is not mandatory. Only those persons who are convicted of impaired driving and voluntarily apply for the program are considered, along with those who are directed by a judge to participate as a condition of sentencing. To be eligible for the program, the person must have already served the minimum period of disqualification, and must meet the other program criteria.

 

 
3. Why would someone want to participate in the program?

Everyone convicted of an impaired driving charge will lose their driver's licence for a minimum period of time. During that time no driver's licence can be issued and the person is prohibited from driving. In order to qualify for licence reinstatement, some people will be ordered by the court to participate in the program as a way of ensuring that public safety on our roads is maintained. Other people will want to have their driving privileges restored at the earliest opportunity. In either case, the purpose of participation is to ensure that public safety will not be jeopardized by issuing them a licence. Their participation also provides the driver with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have kept drinking and driving separate.

 

4. How do I apply to the program?

The program is administered by the Yukon Driver Control Board. Drivers who would like an opportunity to prove they can drive responsibly must apply to the Board to participate in the program. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis. In general, however, licence reinstatement will not be considered until the driver has served all suspensions not related to alcohol, such as driving while suspended. In addition, all overdue motor vehicle fines must be paid. Finally, the driver must have completed all reinstatement conditions and obtained verification from the Motor Vehicles Office.

 

 
5. Will the program be available to all Yukon residents, including those outside of Whitehorse?

All Yukon residents will be able to participate in the program once they are eligible for licence reinstatement. Residents across the Yukon will be required to bring their vehicle to the service centre for installation and regular servicing. The service provider will schedule appointments with participants to minimize inconvenience.

 

 
6. Once a driver is approved to participate in the program, what happens?

The driver will be required to meet all the conditions of a new licence including a written driver's test, a vision test, and a road test to ensure that they can drive safely. A conditional driver's licence will be issued to those who meet the eligibility criteria.
The person must sign a leasing contract with the ignition interlock service provider and agree to pay to the service provider to have an alcohol breath-testing device installed and maintained in their vehicle. The applicant will be required to remain on the program until s/he meets the program exit criteria.
Participants are trained to use the device and are closely monitored to ensure they are not drinking and driving. Participants are deterred from driving under the influence of alcohol and road safety in improved. To successfully complete the program, the ignition interlock device’s data record must indicate six consecutive months without a single program violation.

 


7. What is the cost to have the device installed?

The interlock devices are leased from the service provider who sets the fees. The service provider charges $200 for the installation/de-installation of the device. In addition, there is a $125 monthly fee for monitoring and monthly service of the device. All fees are paid directly to the service provider. The fee is the equivalent to one drink a day, and is similar of fees charged in other jurisdictions.

 

 
8. How does the Ignition Interlock Device work?

The device serves as a barrier between the driver and the automobile when under the influence of alcohol. An alcohol ignition interlock system consists of a small breath-testing device, which is wired into the vehicle ignition system. It requires the driver to provide an alcohol-free breath sample when starting the vehicle. Once the vehicle is operational, the device requires the driver to provide further breath samples at random intervals. All breath samples requests and actual samples are recorded in the data logger and are stored until downloaded by the service provider.
A number of features such as temperature and pressure sensors, a running retest feature and a data recorder are built into the device to ensure it is being used as it was intended.

 

 
9. How is information gathered?

The device has a built in data recorder with its own power source. Every request for a breath sample and every breath sample itself is recorded and held in the data recorder until the data is downloaded by the service provider, who is responsible for the maintenance of the equipment.

 

 
10. How is the information used?

When the interlock device is serviced by the service provider, the data is downloaded and reviewed with the program participant. All significant events are discussed with the driver and s/he is required to fill out an incident report for all significant events that are recorded in the data logger. This gives the driver an opportunity to explain in writing what occurred to cause the event(s). The data, and incident reports are then forwarded to the Driver Control Board for review. This allows the Board to review the driver’s progress, and allows the Board to intervene when the driver fails to comply with the program conditions. The Board can remove a person from the program for non-compliance and indefinitely suspend their driver’s licence as a result.

 

 
11. Can an Alcohol Ignition Interlock device be installed in other types of vehicles as well as cars and light trucks?

In addition to cars, and light trucks, the device can be installed in snow machines, industrial equipment, construction equipment, ATVs, and heavy trucks. Virtually all vehicles that use a standard type ignition system to start the vehicle can be equipped with an interlock device.

 

 
12. What happens if someone tries to drink and drive with this device?

To operate the vehicle a driver must first provide a valid breath sample into the device. In the event that the breath test reveals a breath alcohol content in excess of the set limit, the vehicle will not start and the driver must sober up before trying again.
The device also requests random breath samples while the vehicle is in motion. The device will detect alcohol that is ingested while the vehicle is in motion. Once the breath alcohol level exceeds the preset limit the driver will be directed to pull the vehicle to the side of the road and stop driving. If the driver fails to comply a very loud horn will sound until such time as the vehicle is shut off. The horn is intended to warn other drivers and attract the attention of enforcement officers. Once the vehicle is turned off, the driver will be prevented from starting the vehicle (locked out) again until his/her breath alcohol level falls within the preset limit
If the driver chooses to ignore the loud horn and continues driving, this will be registered by the device as a program violation. This will cause the device to automatically advance the service date and the driver will be required to take the vehicle for servicing. Failure to have the device serviced within the time frame will result in the device locking the driver out. The vehicle will then have to be towed to the service centre.
When the information from the device is downloaded by the service provider, the driver is asked to explain all lock outs or incidents. Points are assigned for each time the driver’s breath alcohol content reading exceeds the preset limit or the driver was locked out after the vehicle was started. When the driver reaches 100 points the Driver Control Board is notified. Warnings are issued by the Board to participants who continuously report failed attempts or reach 100 points within a reporting period. The driver then may be required to meet with the Driver Control Board to review their participation in the program.
Participation will be extended for individuals who accumulate points in the last six months of the program, or the Board may remove the person from the program and suspend their driver’s licence indefinitely for non-compliance with the program.

 

 
13. Why does a driver have to take a driving test before entering the program?

All drivers convicted of impaired driving will be disqualified from driving for a period of time. In order to qualify for re-issuance of a driver’s licence after the disqualification has been removed, the person must meet all the requirements of a new applicant. This includes successful completion of a written and visual test, a road test and in some cases a medical examination. The driver must demonstrate their competency to drive a motor vehicle without endangering the general public.

 


14. What are the consequences for non-compliance with the Interlock Program?

A condition of licence reinstatement will be that the person can only drive vehicles that are equipped with an alcohol ignition interlock device. If the driver is convicted of driving a vehicle without an interlock device, the conditions of the licence will have been broken and the licence will be suspended by the Driver Control Board. The person would then have no legal ability to drive.
If the driver receives a 90-day roadside suspension or has his/her vehicle impounded for drinking and driving, the Driver Control Board will conduct a review and may indefinitely suspend the applicant’s driver licences for non-compliance with the program.

 

 
15. Are there other offense provisions associated with the Interlock Program?

Yes. It is illegal for anyone to provide a vehicle to someone who they know is required to operate only an alcohol ignition interlock equipped vehicle. Furthermore, it is also illegal to start a vehicle for someone who is required to drive only an alcohol ignition interlock equipped vehicle, and then turn the vehicle over to that person.

 

 
16. Which other jurisdictions have ignition interlock programs in place?

Alberta introduced the first Canadian ignition interlock program in 1990. Quebec’s program was introduced in 1997. Since that time Manitoba, Yukon, Ontario, and Saskatchewan have passed enabling legislation that will allow a program to begin in the near future. Other Canadian jurisdictions are developing legislation for interlock programs as part of their commitment to Road Safety Vision 2010, Canada’s national strategy to reduce accidents, injuries and deaths by 30%. Interlock programs are also in place in Alaska and 30 other US states, as well as many other countries.

 

 
17. What effect have these programs had in other jurisdictions to reduce the incidence of drinking and driving?

Despite the differences in the various studies and programs, the results are remarkably consistent. The re-arrest rate among offenders with an interlock device has been found to be as much as 75% lower than those without the device (source: Traffic Injury Research Foundation).
The effectiveness of the interlock device was also recognized by the federal government during the 1999 Canadian Criminal Code amendments. The amendments added a provision supporting the early use of interlocks by provinces and territories to combat impaired driving. National organizations opposed to drinking and driving, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the internationally acclaimed Traffic Injury Research Foundation, support the use of interlock devices.

 

 
18. What is the Yukon Driver Control Board?

The Driver Control Board is a five-member quasi-judicial board, with a medical advisor. It is mandated under the Motor Vehicles Act. Members are appointed by the Minister of Highways and Public Works.
The purpose of the Board is to carry out an adjudicative role in determining if an individual may hold a driver's licence. Individuals may be referred to the Board by a judge or the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. The Board also acts as an independent appeal board for drivers who have been refused a licence or whose licence has been suspended by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. The Board has the power to invoke an indefinite driver's licence suspension or prescribe any measure or course of remedial education or treatment. The Board's decisions may only be overruled on subsequent appeal to the Board or by a court judge.

 

 
19. For more information, contact the Yukon Driver Control Board

 

Contact Driver Control Board

Location:
The Remax Building
Unit C, 49 Waterfront Place
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 6V1

Mailing Address: 
Driver Control Board (W-23)
P.O. Box 2703
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6

Hours of Operation: 
Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Phone:  (867) 667-5623
Toll Free (in Yukon): 1-800-661-0408 local 5623
Fax:  (867) 393-6963 
Email:  dcb@gov.yk.ca