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Petition 375
Petition Information
Petition Title Petition to Amend 24VAC35-60-20
Date Filed 9/29/2022    [Transmittal Sheet]
Petitioner Cynthia Hites 
Petitioner's Request

I, Cynthia Hites, a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, pursuant to Virginia Code § 2.2-4007, do humbly submit this petition for verbiage removal to Virginia Administrative Code 24 VAC 35-60-20, Definitions., "Violations".

 
July 1, 2012: VASAP Interlock Inception. Paradoxically, the Virginia interlock performance standard was set as "alcohol specific", and the design standard was set as the fuel cell. (24VAC35-60-70 "the machines shall be specific to alcohol", 24VAC35-60-20 "Alcohol is defined as ethanol (C2H5OH)")
November 26, 2019: The NHTSA recognizes the usage of the term "ethanol specific" published in "Ignition Interlock - What you need to know. A toolkit for policy makers, highway safety professionals and advocates" is in error and amends it immediately.
January 29, 2020: Randolph Atkins of the NHTSA states in writing "BAIIDs are alcohol specific, but not ethanol specific."
January 21, 2021: Virginia Townhall, Form TH-03 April 2020:  "VASAP recognizes that ignition interlocks can detect alcohols other than ethanol..." 
March 1, 2021: VASAP removes Virginia's interlock performance standard: "The term "alcohol specific" is being deleted to remove any suggested claim that interlocks will only detect ethanol", Virginia Register of Regulations Volume 37, Issue 14, page 674
December 10, 2021: Minutes of Quarterly VASAP Meeting, Chief Legislative Officer for Lifesafer, "Mr. Ken Denton clarified that ignition interlocks are screening devices unlike evidentiary breath alcohol machines..."
 
With the full understanding that Virginia's interlock design standard could not meet Virginia's interlock performance standard, VASAP removed the performance standard of "alcohol specific" for interlock devices in Virginia. 
 
The paradigm of the IID program has shifted, but VASAP administration has yet to adjust. The limited scope of this instrument renders it a screening tool, not evidential, and any "readings" stop at the pass or fail of the lockout device.  
 
This instrument is preliminary for the presence of ethanol and its results cannot be blanketly construed as drinking alcohol. The instrument can only corroborate sobriety. 
 
The interlock prevents a driver who has provided a failed breath test (>.02 BrAC)  from starting a vehicle, and that is the end of its scope of functionality. 
 
An IID allows the car to either start or it locks the ignition, but IID readings do not meet the evidentiary standard of that of the Intox EC/IR II. The interlock is a lockout device, not an evidential breath test; its readings cannot be used in court, nor can they be used extrajudicially. 
 
The error lies in what VASAP considers a "violation".  Defining a failed interlock reading as a "violation" for the presence of ethanol is not in accordance with the functionality of the fuel cell, as the instrument cannot distinguish between alcoholic compounds.
 
Compliance should be defined as having the IID installed for the determined duration, regardless of the pass or fail of the machine.  Failed readings are expected with non-alcohol specific instruments and should NOT constitute "violations" or VASAP program noncompliance. 
 
According to data received via FOIA requests and VASAP meeting materials, in 2021 there were 7889 interlock installations in Virginia and during that same timeframe 6,843 cases were received by VASAP for secondary interlock review.  Non alcohol-specific sensors generate high numbers of false positives.
 
The solution to the non alcohol-specific fuel cell is to stop considering failed interlock tests as "violations".
The solution to alleviate the financial pressures felt by VASAP is to stop considering failed interlock tests as "violations".
The solution to eliminate the punishment of false positives is to stop considering failed interlock tests as "violations".
 
VASAP cannot continue to hold Virginians to a standard it has removed. 
 
I hereby request the following bold-faced verbiage be omitted from 24VAC35-60-20:
Definitions., "Violation" means an event such as "a breath test indicating a BAC reaching the fail point upon initial startup"; a refusal to provide a rolling retest deep lung breath sample, "a rolling retest with a BAC reaching the fail point"; altering, concealing, hiding or attempting to hide one's identity from the ignition interlock system's camera while providing a breath sample; or tampering, that breaches the guidelines for use of the interlock device. 
 
Correcting the interlock system as outlined in this petition will be a solution to a host of current problems. 
Thank you for your consideration in this matter,
 
 
Agency's Plan

This petition will be considered at the next Commission meeting on December 9, 2022.  

 
Comment Period Ended 11/24/2022
21 comments
Agency Decision Pending    

Contact Information
Name / Title: Christopher Morris  / Special Programs Coordinator
Address: Commission on VASAP
1111 E. Main St., Ste. 801
Richmond, 23219
Email Address: Chris.Morris@vasap.virginia.gov
Telephone: (804)786-5895    FAX: (804)786-6286    TDD: ()-