Melanies Law in Massachusetts – Zero Tolerence

Massachusetts Zero tolerance for drunk driving


In the state of Massachusetts Melanie’s Law passed on October 28, 2005. Its purpose was to increase the awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving by implementing penalties and administrative sanctions for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) offenders in Massachusetts. In many respects this law is among the toughest in the nation. Melanie’s Law set up a state run ignition interlock program on January 1, 2006. The Registry of Motor Vehicles researched approaches and equipment, recruited vendors, established standards for operation drafted memorandums of agreement with approved vendors, and trained existing RMV staff to oversee the new program. Multiple OUI were required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle upon issuance of a hardship license or at full license reinstatement.

With the installation of an ignition interlock device, the offender’s license is reinstated with a Z restriction. The Z restriction stands for Massachusetts Zero tolerance for drunk driving and notifies law enforcement officials that individuals with this restriction may only operate a vehicle with an Ignition Interlock Device installed. Regulations were created to establish guidelines and procedures for the certification, installation, use and maintenance of Ignition Interlock Devices. Additionally, the regulations list program violations and the applicable sanctions. Thousands of Interlock Devices have been installed since the program’s beginning. There are currently six Ignition Interlock companies that install and maintain IID devices throughout the Commonwealth.

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