Working of the Alcohol Ignition Lock System

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Published: 06th July 2010
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Mothers Against Drunken Driving, popularly known as MADD, has supported the new Alcohol Ignition Lock system, for monitoring convicts of drunken driving charges, in order to bring down to a great extent the number of drunken driving accidents on the rise each year. The new type of ignition lock system prevents starting of the ignition device when alcohol level in the driver's body is above a safe level.

How do Alcohol Ignition Lock systems work?
Typically fitted into the glove compartment, the ignition lock is hardwired with the car's ignition system. Before starting the car, around 1.5 liters of your breath would have to be blown into the detector situated on the car's dashboard. If the alcohol level crosses a danger mark, the ignition lock will simply not allow the ignition system to work! The volumetric limit for the danger level is in the range 0.03-0.04 per cent.
A few ignition locks have also been designed to check the alcohol levels once the car has been started. Scheduled to occur repeatedly in intervals of 5 to 30 minutes, this variation of the locking system takes care of a sober associate passing the initial ignition test. Another thing it prevents is the driver gulping a few pegs once on road.
In order to prevent accidents occurring by sudden shutting down of the ignition while on the road, the on-road ignition lock system instead makes the car's alarm system go crazy, blaring the horn and flashing the car's lights madly, stopping only when the ignition is turned off.
A kind of blackbox is included in the ignition lock device, which records the Breath Alcohol Concentration levels at regular intervals, so that law enforcement authorities have evidence in case of accidents due to drunken driving.
The logs of the device are downloaded and analyzed each month, to detect any foulplay anytime. This maintenance also helps in keeping tabs on ex-convicts. The logs reveal whether the ignition lock was in operation all the time, and whether the driver kept giving the checks while driving.

How would the new ignition lock system affect the car's safety?
Under normal circumstances, the device in its proper state would never cause leakage of power from the car's battery. Neither would it affect normal driving of the car in any way. In case the car is shut down, the ignition lock system draws totally negligible power. Even before the device is actually installed in the car, an authorized mechanic would check whether the car's electrical and mechanical capability is enough to support the device's installation. The device itself monitors the power level and performance of the car's battery. The ignition lock component installed on the dashboard has a power LED which flashes thrice whenever the battery power is too low, flashing a warning that the car's electrical system is malfunctioning. The ignition lock system can under no circumstance shut down a running car by itself. It can only prevent starting or re-starting the car. Visit the page for more information.

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