Jones’ voluntary car interlock bill moves from committee

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to allow Michigan parents to install a breath alcohol analyzer device on their car without it sending reports to the secretary of state.

“The combination of the inexperience of young drivers and the high rate of underage drinking can be deadly and a source of anxiety for many parents of teenagers and college students,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Allowing parents to install an ignition interlock on their car can help prevent drinking and driving.”

In Michigan, if a restricted license is ordered for a habitual drunk driving offender, the person must install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (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.

“Several parents of young drivers would like to voluntarily install a breath alcohol interlock device on a family car, but do not want the government involved,” Jones said. “Michigan parents should be able to use current technology to stop their children from making a life-changing mistake — without the information about the use of the technology having to be sent to state officials.”

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.