musings ignition interlock

december 2012

What’s the status of your state’s ignition interlock program?

Mark Lowe,
Director, Motor Vehicle Division,
Iowa Department of Transportation

“We are actively considering and pursuing legislative changes necessary for a first-time, “all” offender strategy. This would eliminate or reduce hard suspensions and driving restrictions. But it would require use of an ignition interlock device (IID) for defined periods of time without the opportunity to wait the revocation out, and that conditions permission to remove the IID on successful driving without lockout for a defined minimum period immediately prior to removal."

Joan Kopcinski,
Driver Services Director,
Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services Division

“The Minnesota Ignition Interlock Device Program was implemented on July 1, 2011, and has almost 4,000 participants enrolled. Over 650 participants have already successfully completed the program. Minnesota’s program requires all canceled drivers (three or more alcohol offenses) to enroll. First- and second-time offenders have the option of getting an ignition interlock device installed to receive valid driving privileges immediately without a hard revocation. We anticipate the number of enrolled participants to continue to grow, and we believe this program is an important tool in keeping our roads safe."

Ray Martinez,
Chief Administrator, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission

“Under New Jersey law, which took effect in January 2010, the Motor Vehicle Commission approves ignition interlock manufacturers and installation sites, as well as ensures that drivers who have been sentenced to install a device present certification of the installation prior to the restoration of driving privileges. The downside of the law is that it did not include a provision for monitoring drivers after installation, nor did it provide a mechanism to enforce the provision that requires drivers to install the device during their term of suspension. Unless these issues are resolved, the law will not fully have its desired impact.”

Melody Currey,
Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles

“Connecticut’s ignition interlock program has evolved to require the use of the devices after a first conviction for operating under the influence. The law mandating this went into effect in January 2012. Prior to that, IIDs were required only for operators with two convictions. As a result, the number of IID users has tripled when compared to the same period in 2011.

The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles is in the process of strengthening its regulations to better define violations of the IID restriction, which add to the length of time the IID is required. It is likely that at some point in the future, IIDs will be required for all alcohol offenders, including those who are eligible for diversion programs."

Shelly Baldwin,
Washington Traffic Safety Commission

“Washington has required ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders since 2004. Currently, Washington requires compliance-based removal—four months without failing to take or pass a test—before an offender can be re-licensed. We offer an ignition interlock driver’s license, which allows offenders to drive while their license is suspended if they install an ignition interlock. Washington’s ignition interlock compliance program includes: ignition interlock service center certification, installation technician certification, standardized calibration procedures, NIST certified testing devices, and unified reporting procedures. Washington also conducts face-to-face meetings with interlock users targeting offenders whose interlock records show repeated high BAC tests. In many cases, these visits result in probation revocation. In January 2013, all interlocks will be required to be equipped with a camera.”