Jones introduces voluntary alcohol interlock bill

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Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones has introduced legislation to allow parents to install a device similar to a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) on their car without it sending reports to the secretary of state.

“Parents of teenagers and college students have a lot to worry about when they let their children use the family car,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “The combination of inexperience behind the wheel and the high rate of underage drinking is especially troubling. Allowing parents to install an ignition interlock on their car can help prevent their children from drinking and driving.”

In Michigan, if a restricted license is ordered for a habitual drunk driving offender, the person must install a BAIID on any vehicle he or she owns or intends to operate. A BAIID is a breath alcohol analyzer that connects with a vehicle’s ignition and other control systems. The BAIID measures the driver’s bodily alcohol content (BAC) and keeps the vehicle from starting if the BAC is 0.025 or higher.

Currently, Michigan drivers are allowed to have an interlock device installed on their vehicle voluntarily. However, even if the interlock device is installed voluntarily, the company that provides the interlock is required to generate a report when the device is used and send that report to the secretary of state.

“I have heard from several people who would like to voluntarily install an interlock device on their vehicle, but hesitate to do so because of the report that must be sent to the secretary of state,” Jones said. “Parents should be able to use current technology to stop their children from making a life-changing mistake — without information about that prevented mistake being reported to the state.”

Senate Bill 892 would allow interlock providers to develop, market and sell a SOBER (Startup Operated Breath Engine Restrictor) device in Michigan. The provider of the SOBER device would not be required to transmit a report to the secretary of state when the device is used.

To avoid confusion of law enforcement, the new device would be similar in function to a BAIID, but would be visually different from a state-ordered device.