Minnesota Judge Orders Government To Stop Installing Ignition Interlock Devices

Posted On January 03, 2017 by Charles Ramsay

It's an issue we've been talking about for months, and now, a Minnesota judge has taken action. As reported by Eyewitness 5 News (KSTP) the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has just been ordered to stop their plan to GPS track every Minnesota driver (or at least, every Minnesota vehicle) that has the ignition interlock device installed.

The ignition interlock program has its good sides and its bad sides. As a huge positive, it allows people who have been charged or convicted of a DWI to continue to drive to work, to school, and even to chemical dependency treatment. It also enforces sobriety -- each driver needs to provide 30 tests a month, and the vehicle should not even start if the driver has been drinking.

It also has some bad aspects; false positive tests, very strict maintenance and calibration requirements, and the possibility of having a license revocation period extended by years due to equipment malfunction or false positive tests. We fight these types of situations all the time, and have success, but it's still a downside to an overall positive program.

But there is simply no need for the Minnesota government to try and use the ignition interlock program to try and track the location of program participants like this. That's why it was very satisfying to see this particular judge point out how the Department of Public Safety's actions are almost certainly unconstitutional, ordering them to stop in their tracks.

KSTP has been following this story since the beginning, and have a great news piece on these latest developments that you can read below. And if you're truly concerned about this potential large-scale violation of privacy rights and freedoms, this would be the time to notify your state representative and senator and let them know how you feel -- there will be legislative hearings on this matter, and the Department of Public Safety has a lot to answer for.

Daniel Koewler