Q: More questions about Ignition Interlock in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia in General: Where is your SmartStart dealer? Merrifield? Do you know where their other Northern Virginia locations are? Were you able to get it installed right away? Did you have to go to ASAP and they scheduled the appointment, or could you just call smartstart once you had the Court order?
A:"These answers came directly from a client who recently had to live through the interlock installation process. I will add to his comments, the fact that we now have 4 interlock providers has brought some competition to the market, and SmartStart seems to be the best. They are offering a free installation "special", at least for now, and they seem to have better equipment. I really advise my clients not to eat or drink ANYTHING and not to wear any cologne, makeup, etc. It is not enough just to be sure that items are "alcohol free". Don't take the chance of having any other chemical interferents on your breath!
The SmartStart dealer in Merrifield is the closest one to my home so I chose to have my interlock device (breathalizer unit and under-dash electrical box and wiring) installed there and that's where I'll return for the monthly appointments for the breathalizer's calibration and uploading of its analysis readings to the SmartStart computer system.
ASAP provided a list of SmartStart Northern Virginia locations to include:
3135 Colvin Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314
2824 Dorr Ave. Unit E, Fairfax (Merrifield), VA 22031
10400 Morias Ct., Manassas, VA 20110
4901 Commerce Dr., Fredericksburg, VA 22401
1751 N. Main St., Culpeper, VA 22701
126 Windy Hill Ln. Suite 6, Winchester, VA 22602
There are also SmartStart locations in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.
In addition, there are also Northern Virginia locations for other interlock providers. They include National Interlock Service, Draeger Safety Diagnostics, Inc., and Interlock Systems of Virginia. Let me know if you'd like me to provide their addresses.
Immediately after my ASAP intake interview I was provided with a list of 'Ignition Interlock Installation Facilities'. I asked the ASAP front desk personnel to contact SmartStart and they immediately faxed my court paperwork requiring the interlock to the SmartStart main office in Dallas, TX. SmartStart personnel called me that afternoon to set up an appointment with the shop location of my choosing. The earliest I was able to schedule an appointment was 5 business days later. Not legally being able to drive in the interim, my wife drove our car to the shop for the appointment and within 2 and 1/2 hours the device was installed. During this time we saw a 15 minute training video, were warned what foods not to eat before using the breathalizer, and practiced blowing into the breathalizer to allow it perform its analysis properly. Again, you don't just blow into it, you have to hum for what I consider to be an extended period of time to have the device analyze your breath properly.
After the device was installed, my wife drove me to ASAP to provide them with the SmartStart paperwork and receipt of payment proving the device was installed. ASAP personnel then query your DMV records to ensure that you don't have any other vehicles in your name that haven't had an interlock device installed in them because all of the vehicles that have your name on the title (regardless of whether they are registered or not) are required to have an interlock installed in them. (Incidentally, I transferred ownership of the other vehicles my wife and I held in joint ownership exclusively to my wife's name which satisfied the ASAP ownership and interlock installation criteria.) Upon completion of this step, the probation officer at the ASAP front counter signs your court-generated 'green form' which then allows you to legally drive in accordance with the restrictions reflected on the 'green form'.
My next step is to contact USAA, my auto insurance company, to inquire about high-risk insurance coverage which once underwritten, will provide the DMV with a FR 44 "certificate of insurance". I'm required to pay for the FR 44 for the next 4 years. Whew! I'm certain that it's going to be expensive but I can share more details with you as I proceed.
I hope this helps and again, if you have any additional questions, please feel free to pass them along to me.