A package of bills introduced by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker that aims to reduce drunk driving offenses will go into effect on June 6th. Senate Bills 176 and 357, now Public Acts 32 and 33 of 2016, will enhance public safety and bring integrity to the oversight and administration of the ignition interlock program.
Those convicted of “super drunk” or repeat driving offenses may be required to have a BAIID installed on their vehicle as part of their sentencing in order to maintain driving privileges. A BAIID is a type of breathalyzer installed on a vehicle’s ignition panel. Before the vehicle can be started, the driver must exhale into the device. The blood alcohol content (BAC) is measured and will kill the ignition signal if the level is above the minimum threshold. The driver is also required to intermittently be tested throughout their drive.
More than 8,000 of these devices have been installed in the past three years alone.
Unfortunately, the installation of BAIIDs has raised concerns. Too often, we hear of stories where a driver is required to meet an installer in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant and told that for an additional fee, they can learn how to cheat the system. Without proper licensure of these installers, there is no way to sanction any individuals guilty of this practice. This legislation requires annual certification from the Michigan Department of State for manufacturers, increases requirements for service centers in the state, and establishes certification requirements for those who install BAIIDs.
This package also requires BAIIDS to have photo capabilities. These images will help verify that the restricted driver is actually providing the breath sample during a test. Additionally, this serves as a form of consumer protection for the driver with the restricted license. Should a vehicle be in the shop for repair and a breath sample not provided when prompted, the driver would not be issued a violation.
This really comes down to an issue of public safety. 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.