Massachusetts lawmakers recently held a hearing is which they discussed a proposed bill that will, if passed, drastically change the license penalties associated with OUI/DUI offenses.
Specifically, the legislation – otherwise known as Senate Bill 1895 – would allow those accused of drunk driving to avoid a license suspension/revocation, but only if they install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their cars. In the most basic terms, an IID is a device that prevents individuals from starting a vehicle unless they can provide a breath sample showing they are not intoxicated.
If passed, this legislation would mark a significant shift in Massachusetts OUI/DUI penalties, especially since current law typically only requires IIDs after multiple drunk driving offenses.
SB 1895: The basics
While the rules would vary depending on the circumstances, this proposed legislation would essentially allow drivers to apply for an IID license if they can provide proof that they have installed a functioning IID on any and all vehicles they operate. They also cannot drive any motor vehicle that is not equipped with an IID for the duration of the IID license period. In many cases, a driver may also be required to complete a residential treatment program before an IID license will be issued.
Even though it remains to be seen whether this bill will ever become law, it has nevertheless ignited mixed reactions. For instance, while the proposed law would protect one’s ability to get around following an OUI/DUI arrest, the cost associated with the installation and maintenance of an IID may be prohibitively high for many drivers – often costing as much as $900 a year. Ultimately, however, we will just have to wait and see what happens.