In 2011 the Oregon Legislature amended ORS 813.602(2) as follows:

“The court shall require as a condition of a driving while under the influence of intoxicants diversion agreement that an approved ignition interlock device be installed in any vehicle operated by the person during the period of the agreement when the person has driving privileges.”

This law change requires a judge to order persons in DUII Diversion to have an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they drive. However, the legislature did not give courts the authority to waive that requirement for people who drive their employer’s vehicles. Thus, every person in Oregon DUI Diversion who drives an employer’s vehicle must install an ignition interlock device in their employer’s vehicle. This creates obvious problems, since employers do not want to pay the expense of installing and renting such devices. People in DUI Diversion are often faced with the choice of violating their DUII Diversion agreement by driving a vehicle without an approved ignition interlock device or losing their jobs.

The Legislature needs to act now to fix this unintended problem. They can do this one of two ways.

First, they could simply authorize a judge to exempt employer owned vehicles from this DUII Diversion requirement. This would place a burden on courts to evaluate each case and determine whether or not an employer exception is appropriate in a given case.

Second, the Legislature could do what it should have done in the first place: have DMV administer this requirement. Ignition interlock devices have been required for persons convicted of Oregon DUI for decades. DMV has administered that program quite well and has a process in place for a person to apply for an employer-owner vehicle exemption. It makes sense to have DMV run this program because it is an agency with policies already in place.

I expect a bill to fix this problem will be submitted when the legislature reconvenes in January of 2013. As a DUI Defense lawyer Portland, Oregon City and Beaverton, I represent many people who enter DUII Diversion each year. It is my hope that this law is changed early in the legislative session and made effective immediately.

By James F. O’Rourke Jr.