Melanie’s Law passed on October 28, 2005. Its purpose is to enhance the penalties and administrative sanctions for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) offenders in Massachusetts. Melanie’s Law required the creation of a state run ignition interlock program by January 1, 2006. The RMV researched appropriate 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 offenders are now required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle upon issuance of a hardship license or at full license reinstatement.
Upon installation of an IID a multiple 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. 540 CMR 25.00 was created to establish guidelines and procedures for the certification, installation, use and maintenance of Ignition Interlock Devices. In addition, the regulations list program violations and the sanctions attached. More than 2000 Interlock Devices have been installed since the program’s inception. There are currently five Ignition Interlock companies that install and maintain IID devices throughout the Commonwealth at 30 locations.
The Registrar also formed a Drunk Driving Advisory Committee to review and discuss current RMV regulations, policies and procedures associated with the administration of the laws governing drunk driving. The Committee consists of representatives from the Executive Office of Public Safety, the Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau, the Department of Public Health, Mother’s Against Drunk Driving, state and local law enforcement, RMV staff and other interested parties.