A hearing will be held on Tuesday at the Massachusetts Statehouse regarding a bill filed by Robert Hedlund of Weymouth which would expand the ignition interlock requirement of Melanie’s Law. If passed, the bill would require even first offenders in Massachusetts to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.
Writing for the Patriot Ledger, Reporter Neal Simpson, wrote that 27 states now require first offenders to use the interlock devices.
The current law requires only second and subsequent DUI offenders to use the ignition interlock devices, which do not use infrared technology and are prone to false positive alcohol readings by confusing common products and food substances for ethanol, the type of alcohol contained in liquor.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles enforces the interlock requirement with a zero-tolerance approach and revokes licenses for 10 years or life for ignition interlock violations. The devices cannot be used on motorcycles and commercial motor vehicles.
I predict that Senator Hedlund’s bill will pass and those convicted of even a first offense DUI will be required to use the ignition interlock devices during the term of any hardship license and for a period of 2 years after the driver gets a full reinstatement. The Patriot Ledger reports that since the ignition interlock program began in Massachusetts on January 1, 2006, only 2 of the 533 people who have completed the Massachusetts ignition interlock program have bee re-arrested for DUI.