Missouri has had a progressive ignition interlock policy for years, one that allows even first-time and habitual Missouri DUI offenders to keep driving with an interlock installation. However, the state may be relaxing some of those rules, particularly if an offender’s job requires them to drive as a requirement of their job.
This Missouri DUI exemption doesn’t allow habitual drunk driving offenders a lesser sentence. The purpose of the ignition interlock employment exemption is to allow the offenders to keep working at jobs that require them to use a company vehicle. The habitual Missouri DUI offenders will have the opportunity to continue to support their families, pay off their DUI fines, and earn a living.
If the bill passes, the employer is required to sign off on the exemption and may be in a better position to determine if their employee is safe to operate the 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. And of course, the employer him/herself could have voluntarily installed an interlock device.
Missouri Senate Bill 474:
If a person is required to have an ignition interlock device installed on such person’s vehicle, they may apply to the court for an employment exemption variance to allow them to drive an employer-owned vehicle not equipped with an ignition interlock device for employment purposes
only. Such exemption shall not be granted to a person who is self-employed or who wholly or partially owns or controls an entity that owns an employer-owned vehicle.
A person who is granted an employment exemption variance under
subsection 1 of this section shall not drive, operate, or be in physical control of an employer-owned vehicle used for transporting children under eighteen years of age or vulnerable persons, as defined in section 630.005, or an employer-owned vehicle for personal use.
Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Minnesota already have ignition interlock employment exemption laws.
The new Missouri DUI interlock employment exemption would allow an employer to attest to offenders’ sobriety while on the job. In exchange, the employer allows offenders to drive company vehicles without an ignition interlock, but only while on the clock. Business owners are not exempt, as it would allow them to circumvent the interlock requirement.