IRS Fail: Regaining Your Licence Step-By-Step Guide | Muenz Law

Regaining Your Licence after Receiving an IRS FAIL

Regaining Your Licence after Receiving an IRS FAIL: Our Step-By-Step Guide

If you have an IRS FAIL, you will likely want to have your licence reinstated as soon as possible. One option is to request a review of your IRS FAIL at SafeRoads Alberta and to make submissions to have your IRS FAIL cancelled. If you are interested in having a Review of your IRS FAIL, contact us for more information on how we can help.

Another option is to comply with the penalties you've been given as part of your IRS FAIL. It may be the only practical way to get your licence back if you lost your Review of your IRS FAIL.

Taking the following steps will help you get a restricted licence as soon as possible. Please note that the timeline for these steps differs if this is not your first IRS FAIL.

STEP 1: Pay the fine;

You will need to pay the $1000.00 fine online plus a mandatory $200 victim fine surcharge. Go to the SafeRoads Alberta website and enter your contravention number. You will then need to enter your surname, date of birth, and the contravention time. Contact us if you have any issues finding your contravention.

You will need to pay  your fines using a credit card or a debit card that has Mastercard or Visa functionality.

STEP 2: Attend the Planning ahead course;

In order to get the restricted licence, you will first need to register and attend the Planning Ahead course at AMA. You can sign up for the course here. You can also contact AMA at 780-430-8811 or toll-free at 1-800-272-5698. The course costs $333.00.

STEP 3: Apply to the IRS FAIL Ignition Interlock Program;

Two months after receiving your IRS FAIL, you are able to apply to the Ignition Interlock Program. This program allows you to gain a restricted licence that permits you to drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed (i.e., a “blowbox”).

You can purchase the application form at an Alberta Registry and you can either fax or email it to Driver Fitness and Monitoring. Their fax number is 780-422-6612 and their email address is If emailing the application, send it in PDF format as an attachment.

We recommend contacting Driver Fitness and Monitoring two or three business days after sending your application to Driver Fitness to ensure your application has been received.

Choosing not to participate in the program means your licence will be suspended indefinitely.

STEP 4: Contact Smart Start, Alberta’s Interlock service provider, to have the blowbox installed;

Call them toll-free at 1-844-432-4776 or go to their website for more information.

You may have a blowbox installed in multiple vehicles, including company vehicles, and you may share these vehicles with other drivers, including other drivers participating in the ignition interlock program.

STEP 5: Get the restricted driver’s licence.

Once the Certificate of Installation is signed by the installer, Smart Start, you must bring the Certificate to a registry to get a restricted driver’s licence. Once you have a restricted driver’s licence, you will only be legally permitted to drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock/blowbox installed.


  • Retrieve your vehicle.

You’ll be able to retrieve your vehicle after 30 days from the date of receiving your IRS FAIL. See your seizure notice for more information on where your vehicle is currently impounded.

You will be liable for the impound lot fees and retrieving your vehicle may be a prerequisite for installing the blow box as per (4) above.

  • Applying for an exemption.

You can also apply for an exemption to the blowbox installation if you’re physically incapable of using a blowbox. Unfortunately, financial constraints, vehicle inaccessibility, and occupational hardships are not accepted as reasons for an exemption.

Before applying for an exemption, you will have to contact Smart Start to test your ability to use a blowbox. This is provided at no charge. Contact Smart Start at 1-844-432-4776.

You will also need to get a letter from your physician verifying your medical condition that inhibits your ability to use a blowbox. This letter should also have the evidentiary medical testing that supports the physician’s diagnosis.

Then, to get an exemption, submit a letter to Driver Fitness and Monitoring by fax or email (in PDF format) with the following information:

  • Your driver’s licence number or Motor Vehicle Identification number;
  • Full name and birth;
  • Mailing address, telephone number, and email address; and
  • The reasons for why it is not feasible for you to use a blowbox.

I recommend contacting Smart Start after you’ve applied to the Ignition Interlock Program and only request the testing if you’ve got a diagnosis that seriously effects your lung capacity.

  • After the installation of the blowbox.

You will need to drive your vehicle for a minimum of 100 kilometers per month with the blowbox installed for twelve months before you’re eligible to have it uninstalled and to have a regular licence re-instated. This Information Sheet on the Ignition Interlock Program may answer any questions you have.