Michigan Bill: Let Parents Put Ignition Interlocks in Teens’ Cars

igniton-interlocks-in-teens'-carsOne of the most nerve-racking ordeals that parents can go through is seeing their teen drive away in the family car for the first time. The  kids have been taught to drive, and have passed a test and given a license, but they aren’t ready. It takes years to become a good driver, and teenagers are especially prone to bad decisions which make a car journey turn deadly. Drinking is one of those bad decisions.

In Michigan, as in other states, a drunk driver can end up with an ignition interlock in his or her car. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. But a Michigan lawmaker believes that waiting until after an OWI arrest might be too late for teens. He wants the option of installing an interlock in a teen’s car voluntarily.

Senate Bill 0892 would permit the installation of an ignition interlock device upon request. The idea is for parents to install the device in their teen’s car, or the family car if the teen uses it. All drivers would then need to submit a breath sample to start the vehicle, and submit ones regularly at intervals thereafter, to ensure that drinking did not begin after the car was on the road.

Why More Parents Don’t Give Teens an Interlock

Senator Rick Jones, who sponsored SB 0892, had heard from parents who wanted to install ignition interlocks in teens’ cars, but were concerned because the data from those devices is collected and sent to the Secretary of State, to ensure that offenders are not attempting to start their vehicles while drunk. Doing so would be a violation of probation.

The teens in question, however, are not on probation. The device is merely for protection, so in the proposed bill no data would be collected from the voluntarily installed device. It’s job is just to keep the car from starting if the driver can’t pass the breath test.

Peace of Mind for Parents

Parents with teens going off to college could rest a lot easier knowing that their kids’ cars cannot be driven drunk. About half of all alcohol-related road fatalities involve younger people, and college-age drivers are in the worst bracket for binge drinking and OWI crashes.

It’s a good law, worth a try. It forces no one to take any action, but makes it easier for parents to to protect their kids from making one of the worst decisions possible.

Important Note to Michigan Interlock Users

Not all ignition interlock devices are created equal.  If you’re a Michigan driver with an ignition interlock device, you should be aware some Michigan ignition interlock users will need to switch device brands in order to remain in compliance with their interlock requirement. Call 855-310-1854 to ensure that you stay compliant now.

Read a list of approved Michigan ignition interlock providers here.