Shops that service alcohol ignition interlocks are considered an essential business exempt in many states from closing down due to COVID-19.
According to Intoxalock, shops calibrating alcohol ignition interlock devices (IIDs), are exempt from closing in all states.
Smart Start’s Eastern Operations Director, Justin McCord is stating the following: Delaware considers IIDs an essential business as does Illinois. Maryland mandates no new installs but shops can perform servicing. Pennsylvania allows continued servicing.
In addition, many states are lengthening the mandated time in between servicing or for calibrating the devices. New York, for example pushed back its calibrating schedule to every 60 days from 30 days, said Intoxalock. Tennessee pushed back all IID customer servicing to June 15 and Virginia pushed all appointments back to April 1, at which time the date will be re-evaluated. California has not yet issued a new calibration schedule but said, in general, it will be “lenient,” said Intoxalock. So if a client misses an appointment, the assumption is he will not be penalized. See more state updates below.
Intoxalock also has new best practice recommendations at this time of pandemic. First, note that neither the ignition interlock hoses nor the car interior should be cleaned with alcohol or the IID might not allow the car to start. In that case, simply take out the hose and wash in warm water.
Normally, when a customer pulls into a shop, the service technician goes to the car and unplugs the IID. He makes sure the car is starting without it and takes a sample to calibrate on a machine in the shop. Then he takes it out to the car and plugs it in and provides a sample to start the car. Under new guidelines, the tech is instructed to let the customer breath into the IID for a sample, rather than the technician.
Additional information from Intoxalock:
State Approvals/Announcements Advised to Intoxalock Thus Far:
- California – California says they will be very lenient and work with us during this time, however, as a vendor, we must document everything. This documentation would include if a service center has closed, if calibrations are delayed, or completed early, etc. They have advised a plan is forthcoming by the state. *No timeframe given though
- Connecticut – for our elert customers, we are allowed to extend their calibration date by 30 days. For our legacy customers, they will need to schedule appointments for their recalibrations, but the state is not requiring specific violations be reported for the next 30 days, ie missing a recal.
- Delaware – The DMV has extended Driver License, Vehicle Renewals, and Permits indefinitely.
- Florida – All Florida driver licenses, commercial driving licenses and identification cards set to expire in the next 30 days will be granted a 30-day extension beyond their current expiration date. https://www.flhsmv.gov/COVID-19/
- Idaho – The Transportation Dept has extended all Driver’s Licenses that are expired or will expire between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020, to be valid until June 30, 2020. See more info at: https://itd.idaho.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/DMV_Extension_Notice.pdf
- Illinois – The Secretary of State has been closed to the public. For those who already have an IID installed, the expiration date on the permit will be extended for 30 days. However, the device must be kept installed and the customer must comply with all other conditions under which the permit was issued in order for the permit to remain valid. Customers will not be able to obtain a new Driver’s License during the COVID-19 office closure. The requirement that permittees must obtain authorization to remove from the Secretary of State has been suspended temporarily during this crisis but be very cautious if you do remove your device. You will most likely not be able to obtain the correct new license. Law Enforcement will assume you still require the device.
- Kentucky – any customers with IIDs currently installed will be granted a 60-day calibration extension.
- Massachusetts – According to the MA RMV, all Class D and Class DM driver’s licenses, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits that have expired or are expiring between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, will have a 60-day extension applied to the current expiration date.
- Missouri – will be allowing a one-time 60 day calibration extension. Any customers with IIDs currently installed will be granted this extension.
- Montana – Driver Licenses with an expiration date of March, April and May will be extended for an additional 90 days from the date of expiration. Driving records will report these licenses as valid in the system but the physical card will show expired.
- Nebraska – has authorized us to extend monthly service for two (2) weeks. Additional extensions after the initial extension will have to be approved by the NE DMV.
- New Jersey – All driver licenses, non-driver IDs, vehicle registrations and inspection stickers expiring before May 31 have been extended by two months
- Oklahoma – The Board of Tests is requiring Intoxalock to obtain a copy of a doctor’s note containing a diagnosis, or opinion of the patients illness to be suspected of COVID-19 before we can request approval to extend the device. If documentation cannot be provided before the calibration date the driver will be expected to keep their calibration service visit.
- Oregon – OSP-IID will be meeting to discuss this crisis, but no updates as of yet
- Pennsylvania – PennDOT has advised all ignition interlock vendors to service all clients remotely if and when possible. Vendors now have the discretion to grant service extensions if and when possible. We do still have the obligation to submit any Non-Compliance forms and Tamper notifications as normal.
- Tennessee – All required monthly services are suspended until June 15, 2020; services will then resume on the originally scheduled day of the month. No mobile service allowed at this time.
- Texas – Dallas County CSCD customer – case by case basis with supervisor approval
- Vermont – upon approval from the state, VT is allowing time extensions *presuming a case by case basis, pending review as time goes on
- Washington – WA has indicated that calibration windows may go up to, but not exceed 60 days. WSP is seeking to prioritize mobile service applications, in an effort to allow easier device servicing (in which a technician is certified to visit a customer as his/her location). There are to be no other changes to the program at this time and all rules & regulations that govern the WA IID program will remain in effect.
Calibrations – my device has a countdown, do I still need to complete my calibration?
We are closely working with each state to find out what options we have in extending calibration times, list below.
- If a state is allowing extensions on calibrations, then our IT team will be performing these updates as quickly as possible. We recommend our customers download our mobile app to track their updated calibration date as it will update once the extension has gone through.
- If a state is not allowing extensions on calibrations or they have a legacy device, we are recommending them contact their local service center to schedule an appointment for their calibration. They recommend that they also continue to visit our website (Intoxlaock.com) for Coronavirus updates.
Service Centers – will my service center still be open? (even if my state is under “shelter in place” requirements)
We have been monitoring the situation in each State, and based on the information being provided by these States and the federal government, we believe that Intoxalock service centers that operate as auto repair shops are considered “essential businesses” that are allowed to remain open during this time. For example, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has identified individuals that work at “automotive repair and maintenance facilities” as “essential critical infrastructure workers” in its COVID-19 response documents. New York State has stated that “auto repair” is considered an essential service in its guidance materials. The California Department of Public Health has identified the infrastructure sector, including transportation and the ability to move people and goods, as exempt from the order to stay home. In addition, to date, we have not seen guidance from any governmental body that has declared that automobile repair shops are not essential businesses, but we will certainly make an announcement, as soon as we know, if that changes in any State.
Our service centers provide a critical function – they allow individuals the ability to drive, whether it is for an emergency situation or other essential purpose. Based on the guidance that has been released to date by federal, state and local governments, Intoxalock believes that our service centers are essential businesses that provide essential functions and, as a result, can continue to operate during this time. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and provide updates as necessary and appropriate. If there are questions as to whether a service center qualifies as an “essential business” because they provide something other than automotive repair, or to obtain the most up-to-date information, please visit your State government’s website.
Lockouts due to high BAC – possibly due to disinfectant products – I used a disinfectant wipe out of COVID-19 concerns, it caused I lockout…will I be charged?
At this time, there is likely to be an increased usage of disinfectant wipes, which are alcohol based. Depending on the amount of time that elapses between cleaning & sampling, a test may be failed with high BrAC present. However, this alcohol source will dissipate (reach 0.00) very quickly if it truly is a failure due to a disinfectant wipe. These will be reviewed individually. We can generally see if the reading dissipated very quickly, which is consistent with an alcohol source (as opposed to consumption of beer/wine/liquor). To avoid this situation in the future, please make sure you wait at least 15-20 minutes after disinfecting your device to provide a breath sample.
Cleaning your device and mouthpieces:
Clean the device with a mildly damp cloth and make sure the device is dry before taking a test, we suggest waiting 15 minutes to ensure that all the surfaces are dry and clear of any contaminates. For mouthpieces, you can use soap that is alcohol free and warm water. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and dry completely before using. DO NOT share your mouthpiece with anyone, including a family member. Service Centers will provide 3-4 sterile mouthpieces for your use.
We understand the importance of using hand sanitizer during this time. To reduce the chance of incurring a high BAC violation, use sanitizer outside of your vehicle and allow your hands to dry before giving a test;
Always provide a passing retest within 10 minutes for any fails.
Non-approved Removals – I think I’ve fulfilled my requirement and would like to remove, even though the DMV is closed and hasn’t told me I’m eligible , can I still remove?
We understand that with many DMV closures or delays, the lack of available information can be frustrating. However, Intoxalock strongly recommends that the customer await approval from their monitoring authority prior to proceeding with removal. Failure to do so may result in reporting as an “unauthorized removal” and could result in additional consequences or requirements from the state. Plus, if you happen to be pulled over and you do not have an Intoxalock installed in your vehicle and you do not have your unrestricted driver’s license, law enforcement could take negative action against you. We definitely do not want that to happen to our customers. For these reasons, we encourage them to simply wait for their monitoring authority’s approval (and URDL, if applicable) prior to removing your device. If a customer still insists on removing their device early for any reason, the customer service rep will reach out to CS Supervisor to review the account and determine the best option to help the customer out. *Some states we can do unauthorized removals if a customer demands it and others we can’t or we as a vendor will be out of compliance.