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Reasons for Failed Rolling Re-Tests in Massachusetts

Ignition Interlock Devices

Iignition Interlock Devices are not scientific test instruments and unlike breathalyzers, they do not use infrared spectrometry to determine breath alcohol levels. Instead, ignition interlock devices use less reliable fuel cell technology. Therefore, ignition interlock devices are susceptible to false positive alcohol readings and rolling re-test violations.

Baked goods which are prepared with vanilla extract and French Vanilla flavored coffee have been known to cause false alcohol readings. Likewise mouthwashes and toothpastes containing alcohols have also caused high alcohol readings and false positive results. Other products which contain alcohol include nail polish, air fresheners, windshield washer fluid, hair spray, disinfectants, vapor rubs, aftershave, cologne, deodorants, lotions, shampoo, hand sanitizers, cough medicine, flavorings, and glazes.

If you are on the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Ignition Interlock Device program, you should carefully check all product labels and be aware that anything containing alcohol could result in a rolling retest violation, which may result in the revocation of your driver’s license for a long time.

Ignition interlock devices may be “alcohol specific” but they are not “ethanol specific” and a scientist from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has admitted this. Not being ethanol specific means that these lockout devices will register any type of alcohol and not just ethyl alcohol, which is the alcohol found in liquor.

Any chemical ending in “ol” is an alcohol and should be used with caution. The Registry advises their interlock customers to refrain from eating anything and to drink nothing but water for at least 15 minutes prior to trying to start your vehicle and while operating with an IID. Also, be aware of chemicals in the passenger compartment of your vehicle. If you inhale any type of alcohol and then breathe into the IID, you are likely to have a false positive reading.

If you are found in violation, after a hearing at the RMV in Boston, any hardship license will be revoked and you will have a new 10 year driver’s license revocation to contend with.

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