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Pandemic Presents Challenges for Interlock Device Users

Ignition Interlock Devices

The Covid-19 pandemic has created some challenges for Massachusetts Ignition Interlock Device users.

The Registry has afforded no relief from the requirement that the IID be downloaded and calibrated approximately every thirty (30) days. If you miss a service visits, you risk having your license revoked for 10 years. Even with the requirements to practice social distancing and instructions to stay home and avoid any unnecessary travel, interlock users must still have their devices downloaded and maintained as required by the Registry’s interlock regulations. You must bring your device in for required calibrations.

The Registry has granted extensions to customers whose drivers licenses are scheduled to expire between March 10 and April 30, by extending the validity of those licenses for ninety days after the state of emergency ends. However, no relief has been announced for IID users.

There has been no specific information provided as to whether or not Ignition Interlock Service Centers are considered “essential” and can, therefore, remain open. If the service center provides a critical service, it is allowed to remain open. If your IID service center is closed, you should notify the Registry’s Ignition Interlock Department.  If your regular IID service location is closed, you can try finding another one which services your brand of IID.

Also, in order to receive credit for participation in the Registry’s Ignition Interlock Program, the vehicle must be regularly driven and the interlock device records the times and dates of operation. Data indicating that the vehicle has not been regularly driven might suggest that the IID user is operating another non-interlock equipped vehicle and the Registry Hearing Officer might not give credit to someone whose IID shows that it is not being operated on a regular basis. Hopefully, RMV Hearing Officers will take into account the orders to stay at home and avoid any non-essential travel.

Not driving your vehicle regularly may cause the battery voltage to drop. Ignition interlocks continuously draw power from the vehicle’s battery, even when the vehicle is parked and the engine is turned off. The longer the vehicle is parked, the higher the likelihood that this constant drain on the battery may prevent the vehicle from starting. You can prevent battery problems by starting your vehicle daily and allowing the engine to run for a few minutes, which will charge the battery. Be sure not to miss any rolling re-tests while doing this.

If you receive an Ignition Interlock Violation Notice, you should contact a lawyer. The Registry imposes harsh 10 year license revocations for IID violations, including failed startups, missed service visits, and failed rolling re-tests.

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