Ignition Interlock devices certified for use in Massachusetts require driver’s to provide breath samples at random intervals while their vehicle’s engine is running. The point of these so-called “rolling re-tests” is to ensure that an intoxicated person did not have a sober person blow into the device to allow the intoxicated person to drive drunk. In such a situation, the IID would show a passed initial start test and failed rolling re-tests.

The Registry imposes 10-year license revocations for failed rolling re-tests, under the theory that these are the product of someone who is operating a motor vehicle with alcohol in his or her system and this is exactly what the Registry’s Ignition Interlock Program is designed to prevent and eliminate.

Although the Registry uses the term “rolling re-test,” these breath samples are required while the engine is running and not only when the vehicle is moving or “rolling.” This means that if you start your vehicle and allow it to idle for whatever reason, perhaps to warm up or cool down, you will be required to take rolling re-tests and the failure to do so may result in a lockout.

A Failed Rolling Re-test in which the operator’s BAC registered at or above .05 is considered a violation of the Registry’s regulations as are two Failed Rolling Re-tests within one service period in which the operator’s BAC registered between .02 and .05.

Interlock users should be aware that a vehicle will start with a BAC reading of .02 and that same reading will trigger a rolling re-test violation. The Ignition Interlock Devices used here in Massachusetts are programmed to lock out an ignition at .021.

There are many causes of rolling re-test failures other than consumed alcohol. A variety of common foods, products, and chemicals can produce false positive results and IIDs certainly are not immune from malfunction.

Anyone facing false rolling-retest violations should immediately take proactive steps to produce exculpatory evidence such as comparison breath or blood tests. Reporting the false positive readings to the local service provider, regional IID manufacturer’s representative, and the Registry’s Interlock Department are steps that might prevent a violation hearing from being scheduled. You can reach the Registry’s Ignition Interlock Department during normal business hours at 857-368-7180.