Codes & Standards - Subscribe
This is the first edition of CSA Z627, Breath alcohol ignition interlock devices. This Standard is based on CSTT-HVC-TR -114, Technical Standard for Vehicular Breath Alcohol Interlock Devices in Canada, and CSTT-HVC-TR-150, Test Protocol for Vehicular Breath Alcohol Interlock Devices in Canada, with permission from the National Research Council Centre for Surface Transportation Technology (NRC-CCST) and Transport Canada, Motor Vehicle Safety Directorate.
CSA gratefully acknowledges the financial and in-kind support from the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) for the development of this Standard.
This Standard describes the performance standards, technical specifications, physical markings, and qualification tests required for type acceptance of breath alcohol ignition interlock devices. It identifies the functional, durability, environmental, accuracy, electromagnetic compatibility, and special breath alcohol ignition interlock performance requirements and tests needed to qualify any particular unit or family of units.
This Standard is principally directed at test laboratories and breath alcohol ignition interlock manufacturers and might also be relevant to policy and regulatory personnel at all levels of government.
Until now, there has been no Canadian standard that describes the technical specifications, features, functionality, and qualification testing requirements for breath alcohol ignition interlocks. This Standard is meant to be used by testing agencies that will be performing the tests and manufacturers that need to understand what will be required in order to fulfill the requirements of this Standard and prepare the devices for testing.
There are a variety of published documents that describe breath alcohol ignition interlock performance and test requirements for specific countries or regions of the world. Although some of these documents have been adapted for use by some Canadian provinces, none of them refer to Canada as a whole. As such, it is of interest to develop a relevant and technologically current Standard that could be accepted across Canada and potentially adopted by all the provinces and territories.
This Standard is a consolidation of CSTT-HVC-TR-114 and CSTT-HVC-TR-150, Test Protocol for Vehicle Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices in Canada, with any irrelevant or outdated information removed and any new information, based on new technology, added as necessary.
A breath alcohol ignition interlock device is designed to prevent starting of the vehicle%u2019s engine when the driver%u2019s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than a pre-set limit (setpoint). This setpoint is lower than the BAC limit set by government authorities for drinking and driving offences.
Breath alcohol ignition interlocks are available to individuals who have been convicted of drinking and driving offences and who are eligible to use such a device (the specifics of the legal requirements and eligibility are outside the scope of this Standard). These devices normally consist of a handset connected to a control unit. The control unit communicates with the vehicle%u2019s ignition system, typically via wires that are spliced into the vehicle%u2019s wiring harnesses, and controls the flow of current to the starter motor. The handset is designed to fit easily in a person%u2019s hand while providing a breath sample through the mouthpiece. The breath alcohol ignition interlock provides visual and/or audible indicators to alert the driver of the test status. The breath alcohol ignition interlock will not allow the vehicle%u2019s engine to be started until an accepted breath test has been achieved.
The criminal legal limit for BAC while driving in Canada is set at 80 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood. However, provincial and territorial jurisdictions have set lower administrative limits for alcohol which may result in administrative sanctions. Typically this is either 40 or 50 mg/100 mL. Therefore, it is important to define a reasonable lower threshold on the breath alcohol ignition interlock to ensure that drivers who are permitted to regain driving privileges maintain a BAC significantly below the jurisdictional administrative limit. This will also ensure that drivers who are very close to, or slightly above, the administrative limit are not allowed to start their vehicles due to any slight error associated with sensing the alcohol levels in blood via a breath test.
The information contained in this Standard has been drafted with the interest of all provinces and territories in mind.
The test plan outlines the set of tests that are used to measure and quantify the performance of the breath alcohol ignition interlocks. It is not intended as a means to ensure that the breath alcohol ignition interlocks are in strict compliance with every aspect of this Standard, particularly those criteria that are observed and not measured.
The information contained in this Standard pertains exclusively to devices mounted inside a motor vehicle. This Standard does not refer to those devices used for evidentiary purposes by law enforcement authorities, nor does it refer to devices found in commercial establishments such as bars and restaurants.
There are 2 types of interlock programs in Canada: voluntary and mandatory. The information found in this Standard pertains to government-imposed mandatory and voluntary programs and does not pertain to non-government-imposed programs such as optional use for commercial fleet vehicles.
The purpose of this Standard is to define the technical specifications for the interlock device itself and the interface between it and the vehicle in which it is mounted. It is in no way intended to define how a national interlock program would function nor to define the social, legal, or economic implications of such a program. For such aspects of an interlock program, refer to Ignition Interlock Program Standards for Canada by D.J. Beirness.
This Standard is intended for breath alcohol ignition interlocks that use human breath as the medium for the determination of blood alcohol content. In the future, it might be possible to detect blood alcohol levels by other methods; however, those methods are not considered in this Standard.
For this Standard, it is assumed that the method by which an alcohol ignition interlock prevents someone from driving his or her vehicle is by blocking the engine from being started. As vehicle technologies evolve from pure internal combustion to hybrid and to pure electric propulsion systems, it might be possible to prevent someone from driving their vehicle by other means, even if the engine/ motor is already running.
0.4 Breath alcohol concentration %u2014 Units
Unless otherwise specified, all units in this Standard refer to breath alcohol concentration of milligrams of alcohol in 1 L of breath. For the purposes of this Standard, alcohol is synonymous with ethyl alcohol or ethanol. The format mg/100 mL refers to milligrams of alcohol in 100 mL of blood [i.e., the units of measure for BAC provided in the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC)]. The per se limit set out in CCC 253(1)(b) at the time of writing is 80 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood, which is equivalent to 0.38 mg/L of breath (assuming a blood to breath ratio of 2100:1).
This Standard describes the performance standards, technical specifications, physical markings, and qualification tests required for breath alcohol ignition interlock devices.
This Standard identifies the functional, durability, environmental, accuracy, electromagnetic compatibility, and special breath alcohol ignition interlock device performance requirements and tests needed to qualify any particular unit or family of units.
This Standard is not intended for
a) use for evidentiary purposes by law enforcement authorities; or
b) personal use applications such as those found in bars and restaurants.
In this Standard, shall is used to express a requirement, i.e., a provision that the user is obliged to satisfy in order to comply with the standard; should is used to express a recommendation or that which is advised but not required; and may is used to express an option or that which is permissible within the limits of the standard.
Notes accompanying clauses do not include requirements or alternative requirements; the purpose of a note accompanying a clause is to separate from the text explanatory or informative material.
Notes to tables and figures are considered part of the table or figure and may be written as requirements.
Annexes are designated normative (mandatory) or informative (non-mandatory) to define their application.