Judge Orders Halt on Installing Ignition Interlock Devices
In an issue that has been discussed for months, a Minnesota judge has taken action – the Department of Public Safety for Minnesota has been ordered to stop its initiative to use GPS tracking to follow every driver, or at least every vehicle, with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed. A judge has entered a temporary order to stop this portion of the IID program, stating that installing a GPS tracking device in an offender’s vehicle without a search warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Ignition Interlock Devices are used by Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenders as a means of keeping their driving privileges. These devices act similarly to a breathalyzer – before drivers can start the engine of their vehicle, they are required to blow into the IID so it can read their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). If their BAC reads above a certain level, the vehicle does not start. Like any program, there are both good and bad aspects to the Minnesota IID program and others around the country.
For one, the IID program does allow those who have been convicted of DWI to keep their driving privileges even if it is on a restricted basis. This allows individuals to still be able to drive to work or school while also encouraging them to remain sober. On the other hand, there are strict calibration and maintenance requirements for the devices as well as the possibility of incorrect readings, which can lead to the driver being sentenced to a longer suspension period due to the device’s malfunction.
While there are some troubling aspects to the IID program, the program is a positive one overall that is helpful and beneficial for many individuals. Recently, the Department of Public Safety for Minnesota enacted the new rule requiring IID users to have new devices installed in their vehicles that include GPS tracking. After this new rule was enacted, many drivers expressed that they did not feel comfortable being tracked by the government, and many refused to install the new devices.
The Department of Public Safety reportedly never consulted with state lawmakers before enacting the new rule. In a recent ruling, a Minnesota judge questioned the Department of Public Safety’s plan to monitor the location of drivers using their IIDs. It was ultimately decided by this judge that doing so was a violation of the drivers’ constitutional rights, which is why the department was ordered to stop this aspect of the program as a part of the temporary order.