State laws for ignition interlock devices tightened

LANSING — Secretary of State Ruth Johnson recently applauded new laws signed by Gov. Rick Snyder that tighten regulations for the breath alcohol ignition interlock devices issued to motorists convicted of drunken driving offenses.

The laws revise requirements for the sale, installation, regulation and removal of an ignition interlock device. They also increase the regulatory scope of the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office as the administrator of the state’s ignition interlock program.

“These laws close loopholes and toughen licensing requirements for ignition interlock mechanics and facilities,” Johnson said. “It is good news for consumers, who can now be confident that the ignition interlock installer they’ve chosen is certified by the state and will do the job correctly. I would like to thank Sen. Schuitmaker for shepherding this issue through the legislative process.”

An ignition interlock device connects with a motor vehicle’s ignition and other control systems. The interlock device measures the driver’s bodily alcohol content and keeps the vehicle from starting if the BAC is 0.025 or higher. The device also will ask for random retests while the person is driving.

“The ignition interlock program allows individuals with drunken driving convictions to seek the help they need while putting their life back on track,” said Schuitmaker, R — Lawton. “Currently, the program lacks integrity, which has compromised public safety. I proudly worked with Secretary Johnson on this legislation to ensure drivers with interlock devices are obeying the law and our loved ones are safe on the road.”

If the device records three start-up test failures in a monitoring period, or one rolling retest failure while the vehicle is being driven, or if it detects tampering, the vehicle must be taken to a service center immediately. If that service is not done, the interlock device will go into a “lock-out” mode, and the vehicle cannot be operated.

Tampering with an ignition interlock or interfering with the testing process may result in the suspension or denial of the driver’s license, or may increase the time that drivers must wait before requesting a driver’s license appeal hearing.

Some of the highlights from Public Acts 32, 33 and 34 that affect the sale, installation and certification of the ignition interlock industry include the following:

• Only state-approved ignition interlock device manufacturers and vendors may install, service or remove an ignition interlock device in Michigan.

• Mechanics must hold a specialty mechanic’s certificate in ignition interlock service to work on such devices.

• The Secretary of State’s Office is authorized to inspect repair facilities that provide ignition interlock services, and may suspend, revoke or deny a repair facility or mechanic’s ignition interlock certification when violations of state law are found.

• Ignition interlocks must be able to provide a digital image of the person providing a breath sample and record the time and date the sample was given. This provides state officials with documented proof that the individual providing the sample is the verified driver of record.

• Installers convicted of a felony or alcohol-related driving offense within the previous five years will be precluded from ignition interlock approval eligibility.

“Under these new laws, dishonest individuals who attempt to defraud customers with fly-by-night ignition interlock operations, unlicensed mechanics or unscrupulous business practices will quickly find themselves facing serious legal consequences,” Johnson said.

Berrien County

Local league to register voters on National Voter Registration Day


DAR to host rededication


Niles Housing Commission moves to make improvements, stabilize funding into the future


Dowagiac police investigating Saturday night shooting

Cass County

Van Buren/Cass District Health Department confirms COVID-19 associated death of a student in Van Buren County

Cass County

Cassopolis man gets probation for drunk driving

Cass County

South Bend man resentenced in 1997 Union murder case


Army veteran talks his experience in Afghanistan


Local farm markets ready for fall season


Mason’s Pumpkins preparing for second-annual Harvest Festival


DUS, teachers continue contract talks


Dowagiac Area History Museum fundraiser raises $40,000


Wolverine Pipeline, area organizations partner to lend veteran a helping hand


Cassopolis woman opens vintage, antique store downtown

Brandywine Education

Tickets on sale for Brandywine Hall of Fame induction ceremony


New tech students race marbles to raise money for essential workers

Berrien County

MGCF awards $121,182 in grants to Berrien, Cass counties

Berrien County

Berrien County reports lower COVID-19 cases in schools following mask mandate

Berrien County

Berrien County amends transportation funding requests


Dowagiac man found guilty of drunk driving

Cass County

Underground Railroad Society of Cass County wins Michigan Humanities Council 2021 Outstanding Humanities Organization Award


Dowagiac Police Log: Sept. 17-22


Ontwa Township/Edwardsburg Police Log: Sept. 13-20


Boutique yoga, wellness studio opens in Edwardsburg