Tighter Restrictions on Ignition Interlock Device Installers?

Republican Senator Tonya Schuitmaker recently introduced a three bill package aimed at raising the standards for ignition interlock device installer technicians.  The result, she hopes, will be less drunk driving incidents, and thus fewer lives lost in the long run.

Senate Bills 175, 176, and 357 were cleared by the Michigan Senate and have just recently been approved by the Michigan House of Representatives. If passed into law, installers of ignition interlock devices would be required to be certified by the state before they could complete a legal installation. This way, Schuitmaker says, there would be penalties for those who perform installations improperly, and for those who accept bribes in return for tips on how to defeat the system.

Under Michigan law, a person convicted of repeated drunk driving is likely to be required to submit to the installation of a breath alcohol interlock ignition device (BAIID) in their vehicle in order to maintain their legal driver’s license. The device tests a driver’s blood alcohol content before even starting the car, and then repeated while driving.

As of now there are about 8,000 BAIID devices in use around Michigan. But there is concern about the fact that a BAIID can be installed by anyone. That includes “someone you can find on Craigslist, …who may not have any technical or mechanical expertise.” The result is that sometimes these unlicensed installers “will meet drivers in a fast food restaurant parking lot to install the device and offer advice on how to get around the system for a few extra bucks.”

This new legislation, if passed into law, will require that all installers receive an annually updated certification from the Michigan Department of State for manufacturers. It would also increase the requirements for service centers, establish specific certification requirements for installers of BAIIDs, and put in place penalties for those who violate the law.

In her own words, Schuitmaker calls this “an issue of public safety.” She goes on to explain that  “by increasing oversight of the ignition interlock program, we can ensure more drivers are complying with the law and our families are safe on the roads.”

We are not certain of how this will affect drivers who already have BAIIDs in their vehicles. Our attorneys will stay up-to-date on the new requirements, if and when the law is passed. We look out for our clients.

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