What is an interlock device on a motorcycle?

On the Road 2 min read

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines an alcohol ignition interlock as a device installed in vehicles that measures alcohol on the driver’s breath. An ignition interlock device requires a vehicle operator to pass a blood alcohol test — a breathalyzer — to start the engine. It is common to install interlocks in cars, but you can install them in other vehicles like motorcycles or boats.

Motorcycle ignition interlock devices must be weatherproof because of exposure to the elements. They also need a way of alerting the rider to re-test that can either be heard over the engine’s sound or uses an alternate means of alert like a flashing light indicator. As a result, not all interlock manufacturers produce or install motorcycle interlock devices.

What states allow motorcycle interlocks?

Despite efforts by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to standardize them, state interlock laws still vary widely. At one extreme, some states require DUI offenders to install interlocks on every vehicle they own or operate, whether it’s a car, a motorcycle, or even a boat. On the other end, some states don’t have a blanket requirement about interlocks and issue them on a case-by-case basis.

There’s even more variation regarding motorcycle ignition interlock devices. Among states with interlock programs, some require motorcycle interlocks, others allow them but don’t require or enforce them, and some don’t. If you get into a motorcycle accident driving drunk, you can consult the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to get an overview of your state’s interlock laws.

You should also check your state’s ignition interlock device laws in detail, as some states may specifically disallow the installation of motorcycle interlock devices. Summaries of the state’s laws does not always show this restriction. Learn more about how to prevent drunk driving.

Motorcycle insurance after a DUI

If law enforcement catches you riding a motorcycle drunk, you can usually still get motorcycle insurance, especially if it’s your first offense. Keep in mind that rates go up after a DUI. Factor in the cost of your increased motorcycle insurance rate and multiple vehicle interlocks when deciding whether to keep riding while your license is restricted. Learn more about insurance after a DUI.

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