New Ignition Interlock Devices Law
Governor Snyder recently signed into law Senate Bills 176 and 357 regarding who can install Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (BAIIDs). The new law will go into effect June 6, 2016. Its purpose is aimed at reducing drunk driving incidents in Michigan. But what exactly does that mean? And how will it affect Michigan drivers?
According to State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, who sponsored the initial legislation, the point here is to make the roads safer. How? By reducing the number of drunk driving-related offenses made by repeat offenders who are able to circumvent the system. But how does one get around the many roadblocks put in place to keep convicted drunk drivers from doing it all over again? Apparently it’s not as hard as you would think. And that right there, is the problem the new law is designed to fix.
Before now, there were no regulations in place that required oversight of, and accountability from, those who manufacture and install ignition interlock devices. For years, many Michigan courts have used the installation of Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (BAIIDs) as a means of ensuring that drunk drivers with multiple convictions do not drive drunk again in the future.
But while that may sound like a very effective method, according to Schuitmaker, a BAIID only works as well as the people who are in charge of installing and maintaining them. Which, as it turns out, could have been pretty much anyone up until now.
Previous law didn’t require the person installing a BAIID device to be licensed to do so. And it didn’t require that the place where the installation happens was in any way accountable. All that will change on June 6, 2016. BAIIDs will then only be installed in licensed auto repair facilities. These facilities, in order to remain licensed, would receive an annual certification through the Michigan Department of State.
In this way, by ensuring that there is a greater level of oversight and accountability among those who do the installations, the intent is that there will be fewer errors and less chances for anyone trying to cheat the system. Additionally, there will be stricter penalties for anyone caught trying to get around a BAIID.
The BAIID, for those of you who aren’t certain of it’s purpose, is a lot like a breathalyzer test built right into your car. In order for the vehicle to start, the driver must blow into the BAIID mouthpiece, which measures their blood alcohol content (BAC). If the driver has consumed enough alcohol to put their BAC above the legal limit, the car won’t start. In addition, the device requires that the driver test again within a 15-minute window, in order to ensure that they didn’t attempt to get around the system by having a sober friend blow into the device before they started the car.
It will be interesting to see whether this new law really does make a difference in the number of drunk driving incidents around the state. Although we know it’s like talking ourselves out of a job, our attorneys would much rather you never got into trouble in the first place. But if you do, we stand ready to assist with an excellent defense team.