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The Superintendent ordering you to get the Interlock

The Motor Vehicle Act empowers the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles to order drivers to get an ignition interlock installed if their driving record is, in the opinion of the Superintendent, unsatisfactory. What that means and how the Superintendent has exercised this power has been the big story in the papers and on TV in the last few weeks.

The section of the Motor Vehicle Act granting this power is 25.1(1). It requires a review of the driving record to determine if remedial measures are necessary to protect the public. The test is “if a person has a driving record that in the opinion of the Superintendent is unsatisfactory.” In such case the Superintendent can add as a condition of a person’s driver’s licence a requirement that the person go through the Ignition Interlock Program (sometimes called the IIP).

If you receive a 30 or 90-day IRP, the Motor Vehicle Act says that section 25.1 kicks in. At this point the Superintendent should look at your driving record to determine if remedial measures such as the IIP are necessary to protect the public. This is spelled out in section 215.45 but it could also be taken to be part of the inherent authority of the Superintendent found in section 25.1.

What this means is that if you receive a 30 or 90-day IRP (Immediate Roadside Prohibition) then the Superintendent must comply with section 25.1 and look at your driving record. That is one of the jobs of the Superintendent. The problem is that, to date, the Superintendent did not bother to look at anyone’s driving record. He simply made the interlock mandatory. And this is something he does not have the power to do.

The IRP laws have been on the books since September 20, 2010. During the entire time the Superintendent has refused to license anyone who received a 90-day driving prohibition, even if their driving record was otherwise perfect, unless they went through the IIP. There has been no review of anyone’s driving record until recently when BC driving lawyers forced the Superintendent to comply with the Motor Vehicle Act.

The response of the Superintendent’s office has been that they will review the 5-year driving record and consider individual circumstances before forcing people through the IIP, at least from this point forward. In other words, they have now come to terms with the fact that the law does not make the IIP automatic. Submissions can be made explaining why the Interlock is not appropriate. The Superintendent’s office now says that they will consider submissions.

Submissions regarding the Interlock

Now is the critical time if you wish to try and get the interlock waived in your case. The BC government is likely concerned that the mistake made by the Superintendent could cost them millions. They have the power to re-write the law to avoid paying people back if they were wrongly sent to the IIP. It is certainly something that they are considering. But they can’t do it until after the election in May.

The Superintendent can delay a decision in your case for 30 days fairly easily. After that you might need to sue to get them to consider your submissions. That could take months. It follows, therefore, that you need to act fast if you are still held up by the interlock. You want to try to have your case wrapped up before the government gets a chance to pass legislation that forces you through the IIP.

We know how to make submissions to try and stop you from having to get an interlock installed in your vehicle. And if the Superintendent does not respond, we can go to court.

We are BC Driving Lawyers. Protecting your driving privileges is what we do.