In 30 minutes, Minnesota’s State government will shut-down. Essential services, such as State Patrol and the Courts will continue to operate, but most government functions will cease operations.
Included in the shutdown is most areas of the Department of Public Safety. A division of the Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services, is responsible for monitoring and approving drivers licenses, vehicle tabs, and among other jobs, has been tasked with monitoring Minnesota’s new Ignition Interlock Program.
Although the Ignition Interlock Program begins in minutes, many people who are subject to its enhanced penalties, will be trapped in limbo until the resolution of the budget issues that have caused this shutdown.
For example, a driver arrested right now for a first-time DUI, and who tests over .16 BAC, will be subject to the new provisions of the Ignition Interlock Program. According to the intentions of the Legislature and the Department of Public Safety, this driver would receive a 7-Day Temporary License to drive, after which they would be looking at a license revocation of 1 year without any opportunity for a limited license. The only way that driver could drive legally for the next year, would be to obtain ignition interlock.
Theoretically, the driver could fill out the necessary paperwork, obtain the necessary insurance, pay the necessary reinstatement fee, and install an interlock during that 7-Day temporary license. However, outside of installing the interlock, none of the other steps can be accomplished as a result of the shutdown. Drivers who are arrested right now will not be able to enter into the Ignition Interlock Program, which will defeat the purpose for which it was enacted.
The Ignition Interlock Program exists to provide a opportunity for drivers arrested for DUI to be licensed to drive in a manner that promotes sober and safe driving. This government shutdown will force many of those eligible for this Program to drive illegally, and that effects the safety of all of us.