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In 2005, “Melanie’s Law” came into effect which increased the penalties for operating a motor vehicle under the influence (OUI) of alcohol or controlled substances. It also established the Interlock Ignition Device (IID) program, which requires multiple OUI offenders to install an IID for a prescribed period of time.
Refer to the following sections for detailed information:
An IID is a handheld breath-alcohol monitoring device (approximately the size of a cell phone) that is electronically connected to a vehicle's ignition. Before starting your vehicle, the IID requires you to take and pass a breath-alcohol test. The IID also requires you to take breath-alcohol re-tests while you are operating the vehicle.
The IID program requires multiple offenders who have accumulated two or more convictions for OUI (alcohol or controlled substances) to have the IID installed in their vehicle. Further, the RMV will honor court orders requesting that an operator install the IID for the full length of that court order IID.
The minimum period for an IID restriction is two years. If the IID is issued on a conditional hardship license, the IID is required for the length of that OUI license suspension or revocation period plus two years after reinstatement of full operating privileges.
The IID license restriction is not automatically removed at the conclusion of the IID license restriction period.
All operators must apply to the RMV's Ignition Interlock department to have the IID removed from their vehicle and the license restriction lifted.
Operators are responsible for the installation, maintenance, proper usage and payment of all associated IID fees.
All operators in the IID program are required to report status changes to the RMV’s Ignition Interlock department. Updated information shall include but is not limited to the following:
In order for an IID to be installed, your vehicle must have a 12-volt electrical system and it must be in good working order. Operators are encouraged to check with the approved IID vendor/service provider for more details. The IID will not be installed on motorcycles.
Throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there are 7 approved vendors that offer installation and maintenance of the IID at several convenient service provider locations.
You must first visit an RMV service center and speak with an RMV hearings officer. The RMV hearings officer will explain the criteria for a conditional hardship license or for full reinstatement. Do not have an IID installed in your vehicle before you have received approval for the IID from an RMV hearings officer.
Once you have been approved for a conditional hardship license or for full reinstatement, the RMV hearings officer will provide you with a list of approved IID vendors/service providers. You will also be given paperwork and legal documents that must be completed, signed, notarized and returned to the RMV hearings officer. By signing these affidavits, you certify that you understand, as well as each licensed driver in your household, that you are not allowed to drive any vehicle without an IID and that you cannot try to bypass the IID in any way. The penalties for these actions are included in the affidavits.
Refer to the steps for IID Installation (download below).
You must call an approved IID vendor/service provider to schedule an appointment for IID installation. Do not plan to drive yourself to the appointment – there are no exceptions to your requirement to drive a vehicle with an IID. When you go to your appointment, you must bring proof of your identity. The service provider will install the IID in your vehicle and give you detailed instructions on how to use and maintain the device.
Pursuant to the provisions of 801 CMR 4.02, all operators subject to an Ignition Interlock license restriction are subject to a $30 monthly program administration fee. This fee shall be collected by the IID vendor on behalf of the RMV at your initial service visit (not installation) and each subsequent service visit.
You must return to a RMV hearings officer with the completed affidavits and proof of IID installation. An "HZ" or "Z" restriction will be added to your driver's license. The "HZ" or "Z" driver's license restriction means that you are only allowed to operate a motor vehicle equipped with an IID.
The IID must be used in every vehicle that you own, lease or operate (including your employer’s vehicle), no exceptions are made. If you do not have the IID installed in your vehicle(s), you will not be eligible for a conditional hardship license and you will not be allowed to have your license reinstated.
If you have been serving a license suspension for greater than 2 years without conditional hardship license relief or full reinstatement of operating privileges, you are required to pass a learner’s permit exam. You are also required to take a road test in a vehicle equipped with an IID.
To schedule a road test, contact the RMV at (857)368-8000. A "Special" IID road test is required when the IID vehicle is not equipped with an emergency brake in the center console area of the front seat, or if the vehicle does not provide a seat for the sponsor. A Special IID road test is taken with a road test supervisor and must be scheduled by speaking with an RMV customer service representative.
Once the IID is installed in your vehicle, you will receive instructions from your service provider on how to operate the device.
Turn on the vehicle’s ignition and wait for the IID to display instructions indicating you need to take an initial breath-alcohol test.
If you fail the initial breath-alcohol test (Blood Alcohol Concentration "BAC" greater than .02%), you will not be able to start your vehicle. You will need to wait for your BAC to decrease before you take another breath-alcohol test.
If you fail a second time within a service period, your vehicle will go into lockout and you will need to visit your service provider within 48 hours to continue operation of the vehicle. A service period is the 1-30 day period following the last IID calibration or service visit.
After the vehicle has started, you will be required to take rolling re-tests at random intervals while operating the vehicle. When it is time to take a rolling re-test, the IID will beep, alerting the operator that they have five minutes to take the breath-alcohol re-test.
You may take the rolling re-tests while driving, but it is recommended that, if it is safe to do so, you pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and take the breath-alcohol re-tests. If you do not take the rolling re-test, or if you turn the ignition off before taking the rolling re-test, this will be considered a missed test.
The IID will never shut your engine off after it has been started.
An operator must bring his/her vehicle to the IID service provider once every 25 – 30 days for as long as the operator is subject to the IID license restriction. At these service visits, the IID will be inspected for mechanical and functional defaults. In addition, the IID vendor/service provider will upload the data from the vehicle’s IID and transmit that data to the RMV. It is an Ignition Interlock Device program violation to miss a service visit. If you know that you will miss a service visit, you must contact the Ignition Interlock department.
If the IID in your vehicle goes into lockout, you have 48 hours to return to the IID service provider for a service visit. If you do not return to the IID vendor within the 48 hour time period, the IID will remain in a state of lockout and must be towed, at your expense, to the IID service provider.
If you believe a lockout is improper, you may request a hearing with the RMV's Ignition Interlock department within 30 days of the lockout. The Ignition Interlock department can be reached by phone at (857) 368-7180.
An Ignition Interlock Device program violation is any infraction resulting from operator action that violates a requirement of the Ignition Interlock Device program. An Ignition Interlock Device program violation consists of any of the following:
Tamper with IID or
Circumventing the IID
Soliciting another to provide air sample or
Providing an air sample to a person with an IID restriction
Providing air sample by artificial means
NOTE: Upon notification of the IID violation(s), the RMV will schedule a hearing to address the IID violation(s). If you are found responsible for the IID violation(s), you may face additional license suspension, up to and including lifetime license loss.
Eligibility for removal of the device is based upon completing the 2 year IID program requirements and having no program lockouts or violations for a period of 6 months prior to the request for removal of the IID. If you are required to have the IID installed during the conditional hardship license period, the full term of hardship must be served plus an additional 2 years following full license reinstatement. The length of the IID requirement is never based on the length of time the IID has been installed, but rather on meeting the appropriate periods of license suspension or revocation as prescribed by law.
If you have completed all periods of license suspension or revocation and met all IID program requirements, and you wish to have the IID removed from your vehicle, you must complete the steps outlined in the steps for IID removal (download below).
If you remove the IID before program completion, this early unauthorized removal will trigger an immediate license suspension. With this early un-authorized removal, you are no longer active in the IID program and receive no credit towards program completion. For more information regarding un-authorized removals, please contact the RMV’s Ignition Interlock department at (857) 368-7180.
All operators who are licensed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and required to have an IID to operate a vehicle must continue to use an IID equipped vehicle when travelling out-of-state. Failure to use an IID and meet all IID requirements will result in the immediate suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
An operator can receive credit for time in which they maintain an IID in their vehicle while residing in another jurisdiction. You must provide proof to the RMV that an IID was maintained, serviced and you were not subject to any program violations during the period in which you seek credit. You must use an IID vendor/service provider that conducts business in Massachusetts and the state where you reside, and the IID must be set to the same standards as Massachusetts.
Melanie's Law and the IID program requirements apply to out-of-state licensed drivers who are convicted of 2 or more OUI’s in Massachusetts. If an IID is required, you cannot drive in Massachusetts without one. To find out if you are eligible to reinstate your right to operate in Massachusetts, you will need to contact an RMV hearings officer or the RMV’s Ignition Interlock department. If you have an active out-of-state license, but operate in Massachusetts without an IID, the RMV has the right to suspend your license for a minimum of ten years and up to a lifetime suspension. If you do not have an active out-of-state license, you are also subject to criminal penalties.
The Ignition Interlock department can be reached by phone at 857-368-7180.
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