In April of 2013, the State of Arizona repealed the long standing employer exemption to the ignition interlock device requirement.
Prior to the repeal, if a driver was required to use an ignition interlock device he/she could continue to operate his/her’s employer’s vehicle without an interlock device if: 1) the employer was notified of the DUI; 2) driving the vehicle was a necessary part of the job; and 3) the employer provided a written statement authorizing the vehicle’s use.
This exemption was not in place to “go easy” on DUI offenders. Rather, the purpose of this exemption was to allow those convicted of DUI to keep jobs that required them to operate a vehicle so they could continue to earn a living, pay off their DUI fines, support themselves and their families.
Moreover, the safety of the public was protected as the exemption required the employer to sign off on it. The employer is in a better position than any bureaucrat at the MVD to determine whether it is safe for a driver convicted of DUI to operate a vehicle without an interlock device. In cases where the driver posed a serious risk to the public, the employer would not sign off on the exemption for fear of being liable. On the other hand, where the driver simply made an out of character mistake or the employer had policies or procedures in place to check the sobriety of the driver, then the exemption would have been approved. And of course, the employer him/herself could have voluntarily installed an interlock device.
Now, thanks to the repeal, this flexibility is gone and the employer has no option other than to permit the installation of an interlock device on company vehicles or to fire the employee. Unfortunately, most employers will end up choosing the latter and those convicted of DUI will lose their sources of income.
The unintended consequences of this repeal will be loss of revenue as more DUI fines will go unpaid and increased spending on welfare and unemployment benefits on those losing their jobs. Therefore, we hope the Legislature will rethink its position and reinstates the employer exemption to the ignition interlock device.
If you need assistance with defending your DUI please give us a call at (480) 306-8875 and schedule a free consultation or click this link to go directly to our DUI Information Page for the most up to date status of Arizona’s DUI laws.