On July 1, 2021, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles quietly amended its ignition interlock device regulations, 540 CMR 25.00 to authorize the imposition of license suspensions for failed start violations.
The Registry amended its ignition interlock regulations with no advance notice to Ignition Interlock Device (IID) program participants. Under these new regulations, two failed start tests will trigger a lockout and 2 lockouts due to failed start tests will generate a license suspension.
A failed start test is a test that the operator must take prior to starting the vehicle which records a BAC reading above .02.
The Registry requires all repeat DUI offenders to use an ignition interlock device during the term of any DUI hardship license and for a minimum of 2 years after having the hardship “H” restriction removed from the customer’s license. The Registry takes a zero-tolerance approach to IID violations such as failed start tests.
You can protect yourself from failed start up violations by testing yourself with a personal breath testing device prior to attempting to start your vehicle. If your breath tester indicates any alcohol whatsoever, you should not blow into the interlock device.
If you experience a false positive reading, you should immediately contact your IID vendor (such as Intoxalock or Smart Start) and report the false reading. You should also call the Registry’s Ignition Interlock Department at 857-368-7180. Keep your phone records showing calls to these numbers. You should document the facts and circumstances such as where you were, what you were doing, where you were going, and potential causes for the false failed start-up IID readings.
If you receive a lockout due to failed start tests, you can contest it within 30 days by requesting a RMV Ignition Interlock Violation Hearing. If you fail to contest the lockout within 30 days, the Registry can hold it against you and use it to suspend your license.
In addition to using failed start tests to suspend your license, the Registry can use them to extend your time on the ignition interlock for 6 months for each failed start test.
If the Registry has accused you of failed start tests, you have the right to a hearing and are entitled to legal representation, which can make the difference between keeping your license or having to serve a license suspension.